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Thread: Texas sees rush on concealed-gun license applications

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    Texas sees rush on concealed-gun license applications

    By Enrique Rangel | A-J AUSTIN BUREAU
    Sunday, August 16, 2009
    Story last updated at 8/16/2009 - 1:55 am

    AUSTIN - Call it a gun run.

    In the first half of this year, the Concealed Handgun Licensing Bureau at the Texas Department of Public Safety handled an average of 12,700 applications a month compared to 8,700 during the same period in 2008, a 46 percent increase.

    A good percentage of those applicants are from West Texas, particularly from Lubbock and Randall counties. Potter County, which has roughly the same population as Randall County, has a significantly lower number of residents with concealed-gun licenses.

    "The bureau hired more than 50 temporary employees to assist in alleviating the backlog," said DPS spokeswoman Lisa Block. "Thanks to those individuals, the bureau is now back to the point of entering new applications into the system as they arrive."

    Once the agency tallies all the concealed-gun licenses issued in the 2008-09 fiscal year, an Avalanche-Journal analysis projects the number of license holders in the state will be more than 400,000. As of March 17 it was 327,560.

    And though with 3,695 and 2,151 license holders respectively, Lubbock and Randall counties do not have as high a number as some non-West Texas counties with an approximate number of residents, compared to the state as a whole the two West Texas counties have a significantly higher percentage of licensees.

    "I am not surprised," said state Rep. David Swinford, who has a license to carry a concealed gun.

    "People are applying for licenses because they see a need for it," said the Dumas Republican. "We have so much distrust of Congress and the president about the right to bear arms."

    The number of applications is keeping pace with the surge of gun sales Texas and the rest of the country have seen since President Barack Obama was elected in November, Swinford and others said.

    "This is also a reflection of what is happening where people live," said state Rep. Joe Heflin, D-Crosbyton, who is also a concealed-handgun license holder. "In Lubbock and other communities there have been home invasions, robberies and other violent crimes ... law-abiding citizens want to feel secure."

    Texas behind other states

    Despite the sharp increase in the number of applications in Texas this year, there are other states with more concealed-handgun licenses, said Mike Stollenwerk, director and co-founder of, a Web site in northern Virginia that favors laws that would permit gun owners to display their firearms in public the way uniformed law enforcement officials do. does not keep track of concealed-handgun license holders because many states make it hard to obtain such information - in fact Texas and about a dozen other states have recently passed laws that keep the names of license holders confidential.

    Records show Florida and Pennsylvania have a higher number of license holders than Texas.

    As of July 31, Florida had 763,781 license holders, according to the state's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - about twice as many as Texas.

    "Florida and Utah have a high number of license holders because they allow by-mail permits," said Stollenwerk, who once lived in Texas. "It is very disappointing but Texas doesn't."

    The high numbers of licensees is hardly encouraging news for Marsha McCartney, president of the Dallas-based North Texas Chapter of the Brady Campaign, a nationwide organization that favors gun ownership restrictions.

    Like other gun control advocates, McCartney said she's concerned gun sales are booming in Texas and applications for concealed-weapon licenses are keeping up with those sales.

    "I am concerned that some of those people are so frightened and are getting a gun," McCartney said in reference to recent news reports the proliferation of firearms is based on a perceived fear that Obama and Congress want to take people's guns away. "It is sad that there is so much misinformation out there."

    However, the sharp increase on applications for concealed-handgun licenses does not worry DPS Director Steve McCraw, who started his law enforcement career in the Panhandle.

    The Legislature established very strict guidelines that make it difficult for criminals and unfit applicants to get a concealed-handgun license, McCraw said.

    "These individuals are fully vetted to ensure that they don't have any links to crime, that they are who they say they are ... that is the key requirement," McCraw said of most applicants, "So, if a person has never been arrested, convicted, charged, the Legislature has made very clear, they are eligible for (the license).

    "The other part, are they proficient? ... They are not issued anything until they go through that particular process," McCraw said of the required training. "So, we have those elements along those lines and I'm confident that at least we won't let criminals get their hands on it."

    TEXAS/State deals with rush to get concealed-gun licenses, and Lubbock, Randall counties have a high percentage of applicants

  2. #2
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    Jul 2008
    West Texas, , USA

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    "An Avalanche-Journal analysis projects the number of license holders in the state will be more than 400,000" by the end of the 2008-09 fiscal year. I LOVE to see our numbers growing. It just shows that more and more people are hearing about their rights. I say "hearing" because the more I talk to people aboutguns and CHL's, the more I'm finding out thatpeople don'teven know that they have the RTKBA.

    So let's keep at it informing people of their rightsand we'll see the number of concerned gun owners grow.

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