Firearm Safety Information
Owning a gun is a responsibility, and gun safety should be taken seriously. While Texas does not require owners to register their firearms or keep them locked up, common sense should prevail to keep the public safe. Here’s why:
- According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, firearms were used in 67 percent of murders reported in 2010.
- In 2009, 224 children and teens died from homicide and gun deaths in Texas, according to the Children’s Defense Fund.
- Keeping guns locked and unloaded, with ammunition locked up separately, can reduce the risk of injuries and deaths involving children and teens.
- Nearly 61 percent of firearms used in school-associated homicides or suicides in the U.S. came from the perpetrator’s home or from a friend or relative, according to a Centers for Disease Control report.
While Texas law does not require that guns be kept locked up, it is in the best interest of gun owners to keep guns locked up. In Texas, if a child under the age of 17 gains access to a readily dischargeable firearm, the gun owner can be found criminally liable.
Federal law calls for guns to be sold with a secure gun storage or safety device. Locking devices include:
- Lock boxes
- Gun vault or safe
- Cable lock
- Trigger lock
- Personalized lock.
Since 1995, Texas has allowed concealed handgun licenses (CHL) for gun owners. As of December 2011, 518,625 people in Texas hold active CHLs. To qualify for a CHL, a gun owner must:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Take a certified 10-hour CHL course, which includes classroom instruction and range proficiency. Class topics include use of force, non-violent dispute resolution, handgun use and safe and proper storage of handguns and ammunition.
- Meet federal requirements for purchasing a handgun
- Pay a fee of $140.
Not everyone can qualify for a CHL in Texas. Many factors negate eligibility, including:
- Felony convictions and some misdemeanor convictions, including charges that resulted in probation or deferred adjudication
- Pending criminal charges
- Chemical or alcohol dependency
- Certain psychological diagnoses, protective or restraining orders
- Defaults on state or city taxes, government fees or child support.