ARANSAS PASS, Texas — Concealed handgun permits have been in high demand over the past few years.
They have been so high that the Aransas Pass Police Department started holding classes for its community in 2015.
The Texas Handgun Licensing Course (formerly the Texas CHL Course) is offered every month throughout the year.
“It has grown, and it has grown because (Aransas Pass police) Chief (Eric) Blanchard believes in the Second Amendment that citizens that can lawfully own a firearm should be able to carry that firearm," Aransas Pass Police administrative Capt. Lynn Pearce said. "We are just helping them get through that process.”
The classes are eight hours with time being divided between classroom lecture and range practice.
“We talk a lot about the laws that affect the use of force, deadly use of force. We talk about the laws of carrying a concealed handgun or open carrying. We also talk about safe storage; we talk about safe storage practices, keeping those firearms out of the hands of children, and we also talk de-escalation, situational awareness, avoiding conflicts when we can and techniques to do so,” said Pearce.
The Aransas Pass Police Department is one of the only departments in the State of Texas that offers this course free of charge to its residents, and that’s one of the reasons why city employee David Harris, signed up.
“I wanted to take the class, first of all, for safety reasons for my family and myself, and living in a world we are living in, everything is ramped," Harris said. "And also I thought I could be an asset to any city official or police officer. If I see things, I can make them aware of what is going on in the neighborhood.”
"There are a lot of people showing interest. There are a lot of people getting their license and carrying responsibly," Pearce said. "I should also tell you our classes are about 50-50 male and female. So they are young and old; I have had them from 21 years of age all the way to 78 years of age,” said Pearce.
This course is required before one is eligible to carry a concealed or open-carried firearm in the state of Texas. And before you sign up, keep in mind, this class may not be for you.
“I will tell anyone who is on the fence that you need to decide for yourself whether or not you are able to or if you had to pull the trigger, could you pull the trigger? If there is any doubt, you do not need to take the class,” Harris said. “This is just the first step towards getting your license. I always tell my classes, it is the first step; you have to continue training, always training, and being prepared. Just because you have that license doesn’t make you qualified to be carrying a firearm.”
If residents pass the class, they still need to go through a background check and get fingerprinted.
This is not a learn-to-shoot class. You should be familiar with your firearm and how to safely use it.
For more information visit their website at https://ap-police.com/services/training-division/texas-chl-ltc-course/