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Thread: Dallas Morning News notes CHL applications on rise, push for open carry gaining

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    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcont...2.4dd7d71.html

    Texans' demand for concealed handgun licenses rises



    12:00 AM CDT on Tuesday, July 8, 2008



    By DANIEL MONTEVERDE / The Dallas Morning News
    dmonteverde@dallasnews.com




    The jerk of the handgun knocked Pam Denman back a bit.




    REX C. CURRY/Special ContributorD.V. Ing, a concealed handgun license instructor, gave some pointers to state Rep. Vicki Truitt during a recent class in Fort Worth. More than 52,000 Texans have applied for a concealed handgun license or renewal so far this year.
    Before recently she had never held a gun – much less fired one.
    She's not alone.
    Mrs. Denman is one of more than 52,000 people in the state who have submitted an application for a first-time concealed handgun license or renewal since the beginning of the year, according to figures from the Texas Department of Public Safety. That is an almost 5 percent increase over the first six months of 2007.
    The crunch – which some say is spurred by concerns about rising crime, the state's new castle law and uncertainty about future gun laws – has created a ballooning backlog of applications for the department and angered gun proponents.
    "Can you imagine if it was a driver's license and someone says you just can't drive?" said Alice Tripp, legislative director for the Texas State Rifle Association.
    On average, new applicants are waiting between 80 and 90 days for their licenses; renewals are taking about 70 to 80 days to process, said Tela Mange, a DPS spokeswoman.
    By law, new applications should take no more than 60 days and renewals 45 days to process unless a required background check raises any flags.
    "We're still hacking away at those numbers," Ms. Mange said.
    She said the DPS is paying overtime and has hired an additional 11 temporary employees to help expedite processing. The department says it will be playing a game of catch-up for the foreseeable future.
    "We believe we're going to be able to get a handle sometime in the next couple of months," Ms. Mange said.
    Gun proponents say the ongoing delays are unacceptable – especially for those seeking renewals.
    Larry Arnold, director of the Texas Concealed Handgun Association, said he's hearing regular complaints.
    "They [DPS] need the assets and they just don't have them," he said.


    Castle law


    D.V. Ing, owner of Gunsafetx Consulting Services and a concealed handgun license instructor, said he noticed his classes filling once the state's castle and traveling laws took effect last September.
    The castle law authorizes residents to use deadly force to protect their property in some situations without requiring them to retreat first. The traveling law allows those without a license to ride with a gun in their vehicle.
    "The traveling law gave them a taste of what it's like to protect yourself," Mr. Ing said.
    That feeling, he said, is becoming more common among his students, many of whom say crime is creeping closer to their doorsteps. One of his students said he found people in his driveway one night siphoning gas from his car.
    "In the past, people just wanted credit cards," Mr. Ing said. "The chances for a person to become a victim are pretty good. People are becoming more bold."
    Daniel Potts, who owns and operates Safe Gun Academy, agreed that crime concerns are a motivating force.
    "Crime is in places there wasn't crime before," he said.
    First-time applicant Leslie Phillips said she now feels physically – and legally – protected thanks to the new gun laws.
    "This way I can't get in trouble," she said. "This is for my personal safety."


    Changes ahead?


    Mr. Potts said that other applicants are afraid of anti-gun laws that could come on the heels of the upcoming presidential election.
    "They just want to have it [a license] just in case anything changes," he said.
    While Republican candidate John McCain supports gun rights, Democratic candidate Barack Obama favors individuals' right to bear arms but also a government's right to regulate them.
    But a Supreme Court decision last month that struck down a handgun ban in Washington, D.C., could potentially loosen restrictions.
    Gun safety advocates say the court's decision shouldn't be a free pass to rewrite gun laws.
    Matt Bennett, a spokesman for Third Way, the successor organization for Americans for Gun Safety, said existing Texas laws appear to be "responsible."
    "We're worried legislators will hold up the Supreme Court's opinion as a way to change laws that don't need changing," Mr. Bennett said.
    Under current law, Texas allows private businesses to ban weapons, and guns are prohibited in certain places, such as government buildings and college campuses.
    Gun advocates hope those with concealed-weapon licenses eventually will be given the right to carry their guns on campuses and to secure areas at their workplaces.
    Additionally, a petition seeking to change the concealed-carry law to open-carry has picked up some steam in recent weeks, with almost 18,000 people having electronically signed it.
    Rep. Joe Driver, R-Garland, chairman of the House Law Enforcement Committee, has said the concealed-carry changes have a possibility of coming to fruition, but no immediate effects are expected until the Texas Legislature reconvenes in January.
    "We just feel like it's a natural progression for people to protect themselves," he said.
    Many first-time applicants, such as Mrs. Denman, are just looking for an immediate feeling of security.
    "You're not expecting that big kick," Mrs. Denman said, minutes after she pulled the trigger for the first time. She hopes she won't have to do it for real anytime soon.
    But working with her husband at their impound lot in Haltom City, she said she needs to be prepared for anything.
    "Things have been kind of crazy around there with people breaking in," she said. "I hope I'll be a little more protected."

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    Hopefully the government will take note and start swaying more towards an unlicensed open carry policy. One thing I don't get though.....they said that "by law, the new licenses must be processed within 45 days", yet they're saying it's taking 80-90 days. If it's a "law", will anything happen to DPS?

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    Phonetic Diabetic wrote:
    Hopefully the government will take note and start swaying more towards an unlicensed open carry policy. One thing I don't get though.....they said that "by law, the new licenses must be processed within 45 days", yet they're saying it's taking 80-90 days. If it's a "law", will anything happen to DPS?
    In theory it can, but in actuallity it won't. As long as they can show that they are trying in good faith to process the applications on time, nothing will happen. They claim they are behind due to the increased number of application and that they have put on more help to deal with the problem, but the truth is, the DPS has been behind for almost two years now.

    Doc

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    DocNTexas wrote:
    Phonetic Diabetic wrote:
    Hopefully the government will take note and start swaying more towards an unlicensed open carry policy. One thing I don't get though.....they said that "by law, the new licenses must be processed within 45 days", yet they're saying it's taking 80-90 days. If it's a "law", will anything happen to DPS?
    In theory it can, but in actuallity it won't. As long as they can show that they are trying in good faith to process the applications on time, nothing will happen. They claim they are behind due to the increased number of application and that they have put on more help to deal with the problem, but the truth is, the DPS has been behind for almost two years now.

    Doc
    Right on. The story said that the there's only a 5% increase as compared to this time last year. I don't know how only 5% would make them this far behind, so I see what you're saying about how they've been behind for years.

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    Mike wrote:
    "We're worried legislators will hold up the Supreme Court's opinion as a way to change laws that don't need changing," Mr. Bennett said.
    Under current law, Texas allows private businesses to ban weapons, and guns are prohibited in certain places, such as government buildings and college campuses.
    Since when were government buildings prohibited areas? Actually, they are one of the few areas that can't post against carry (except where expressly prohibited by law - i.e. court rooms and such). And college campuses are not off limit, only the actual buildings are prohibited for carry. The rest of the campus, parking lots, sidewalks and other access aresa are allowed. In fact, if it is a state college/university they can not even post areas other than the actual buildings and other controllerd entry areas such as stadiums.

    As usual, the anti side is misinformed.

    Doc

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    DocNTexas wrote:
    As long as they can show that they are trying in good faith to process the applications on time, nothing will happen. They claim they are behind due to the increased number of application and that they have put on more help to deal with the problem, but the truth is, the DPS has been behind for almost two years now.

    Doc
    Texas should require that DPS issue "de facto permits" if they fall behind, like Virginia does. See Va. Code Section 18.2-308.

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    Phonetic Diabetic wrote:
    Hopefully the government will take note and start swaying more towards an unlicensed open carry policy. One thing I don't get though.....they said that "by law, the new licenses must be processed within 45 days", yet they're saying it's taking 80-90 days. If it's a "law", will anything happen to DPS?
    You must remember, these ARE government workers. We would not want them to work too hard. They may break a nail or something. Oh, and heaven forbid they miss a break or a chance to chit-chat for an hour or so on the way to or from the restroom. How calussed can you guys be? SHAME SHAME
    The thing about common sense is....it ain't too common.
    Will Rogers

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    Mike wrote:
    DocNTexas wrote:
    As long as they can show that they are trying in good faith to process the applications on time, nothing will happen. They claim they are behind due to the increased number of application and that they have put on more help to deal with the problem, but the truth is, the DPS has been behind for almost two years now.

    Doc
    Texas should require that DPS issue "de facto permits" if they fall behind, like Virginia does. See Va. Code Section 18.2-308.
    Mike, that is a great provision and I would certainly love to see something like that in the Texas law, but I don't see it happening.

    The DPS actually has 90 days to issue new licenses and 45 for renewals. (The way the law reads is somewhat confusing and most read it to say 60 days, but if you read it closely and add it up, it is actually 90 days for new applicants.) In addition, the DPS has a90day extension option (for 180 days total) if they notify the applicant that they can't make a determination of eligibility within the alloted 90 days (which they will surely fall back on if the issue is pushed). Under the Texas CHL provisions, if a license is not issued within the 90 day period and the DPS fails to notify the applicant within an additional 30 days (120 days total) that their application has been either denied or placed on extension, then the application is considered denied. At this point, the applicant can challenge the denial, which takes more time and by then the license will probably have been issued, makingitall a moot point.

    So, it really does not do any good to do anything but wait for them to issue the license, even if it takes 120 days or more. Don't you just love the way they write the laws to benefit them.

    Doc

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    rodbender wrote:
    Phonetic Diabetic wrote:
    Hopefully the government will take note and start swaying more towards an unlicensed open carry policy. One thing I don't get though.....they said that "by law, the new licenses must be processed within 45 days", yet they're saying it's taking 80-90 days. If it's a "law", will anything happen to DPS?
    You must remember, these ARE government workers. We would not want them to work too hard. They may break a nail or something. Oh, and heaven forbid they miss a break or a chance to chit-chat for an hour or so on the way to or from the restroom. How calussed can you guys be? SHAME SHAME
    I wouldn't be too hard on the employees. A lot of the time, things go slowly because the procedures or circumstances demand it (and, let me tell you, it really breeds indolence and discontent.)

    As an example, I worked in one office where about half the overall paperwork (closer to 90% in my case) had to be done longhand, as there were lots of official-type carbonless forms and only one typewriter, which was reserved for the AA's exclusive use. One of the many reasons I left was because I was literally becoming crippled from all the "press hard with a ballpoint pen" nonsense.

    At the same office, everything we did with the computers also had to committed to hardcopy, which went straight from the printer to a box, the contents of which were shredded daily, bagged up, and sent off for incineration.

    I could go on and on...

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    Then there was the girl a friend of mine was dating that was responsible for the citycontractors' checks getting printed and mailed out. He went over one night and asked how her day at work was. Her reply was that it was the day for contractors' checks to be printed and sent out but, we didn't really feel like doing anything (Friday)so we just sat around and gabbed all day. After a brief discussion about maybe some contractors may be waiting on those checks to pay accounts payable or something like that, he left and never asked her out again. Oh yeah, she said, "Oh, they own their own companies, they have plenty of money"
    The thing about common sense is....it ain't too common.
    Will Rogers

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    rodbender wrote:
    Then there was the girl a friend of mine was dating that was responsible for the citycontractors' checks getting printed and mailed out. He went over one night and asked how her day at work was. Her reply was that it was the day for contractors' checks to be printed and sent out but, we didn't really feel like doing anything (Friday)so we just sat around and gabbed all day.
    At least she was having fun. I survived my last couple of weeks at the aforementioned job by, basically, staying drunk the entire time. Sure, my work suffered, but I certainly didn't care and, apparently, neither did anyone else (in fact, I think I was still the department's most productive employee when I resigned).

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    Wow, I feel lucky. When I applied for my CHL in October of 2006 it only took about 3 weeks to get it.

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