Under Texas firearms possession permission laws, the State has to recognize the firearms licenses of several other states. States such as Virginia and Florida have gun possession laws that are far less onerous, and more liberating than Texas.
Going into the 2015 Texas Legislative Session, the chatter was that “Open Carry” would finally be permitted in the state after several sessions of failed attempts to get such legislation passed through the efforts of numerous 2nd Amendment advocacy groups based in Texas. The 2014 Republican Party of Texas Platform had only one legislative priority for the upcoming 2015 session, Constitutional Carry, meaning no government oversight or regulatory authority in regards to the possession or enterprise of firearms in Texas.
The compromise between the hard-left gun control lobby, “Big LEO” (law enforcement officers) and their Establishment supporters was to allow those possessing a Texas Concealed Handgun License to have the option to openly carry with restrictions on how a handgun could be worn outside of clothing. Additionally, new CHL regulations reduced the number of classroom hours and required rounds fired at a gun range needed to receive permission to publically possess a pistol.
Out-of-state CHL class entrepreneurs have found a ready market in Texas. A June investigative report by Houston’s KPRC 2 News discovered that class operators from Florida are holding classes at venues in Texas, teaching the classes to the lesser standards and lower costs of Florida, and issuing CHL permits to the Texan attendees. Texas has to recognize the Florida license possessed by the Texan because of reciprocity agreements between the states.
The KPRC report also revealed that because of reciprocity, Virginia’s licensing process is also available to Texans. The class can be taken online, very much like a defensive driving course, in approximately 90 minutes. There is no gun range, firearm-handling requirement. The cost of the course is $20.
“What we’ve discovered, once again, is that Texas is not as Texas as most think it is”, said Apostle Claver Kamau-Imani, President and CEO of RagingElephantsRadio.com. “Here we are lagging behind on issues of liberty and specifically gun rights, like we are in so many areas and quality of life.”
Kamau-Imani believes Texans should avoid the Texas regulations. “My advice to all Texans that believe in the right of self-defense is to quickly circumvent the Texas CHL regulations and patronize a CHL educator from another state, for less cost, and less regulatory requirements. If Texas ‘conservative’ legislators believe in the concept of competition between the states, then Texas government should lose until it gets its act together and liberates its constituents as has been called for through Constitutional Carry. And, Texans better do it within the next six months before the next legislative session, because the Pink Domers intend to clamp down on the idea of reciprocity and the potential of losing that revenue and authoritarian power that gun control affords them”, Kamau-Imani predicted.
Appearing on KPRC 2 News in response to the investigative report, State Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston RER33), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said that reciprocity on firearms permits is “dangerous”.
Responding to the question of what can be done to get the reciprocity loophole closed, Whitmire stated, “It is dangerous. Because it’s way too easy. It circumvents the standards of Texas, which are not that extensive – 50 shots, four to six hours of classroom. The reciprocity that we have with other states was never intended to circumvent our requirements. That was only to respect their citizens that may be visiting, or crossing the state.
“This is not about whether you support the 2nd Amendment. This is about public safety. To allow people to go… and take a short course, with no classroom or shots being fired, and then get to walk the streets of Texas in our communities with a concealed or a licensed-to-carry is wrong. We’ll have to revisit that in the legislature. And, I believe I can build a consensus in Austin to say ‘this is not what we intended’. In fact, it actually makes a mockery of Texas standards”, stated Whitmire. “I would think we start out by saying we’re not going to have out-of-state licenses granted by going around Texas standards.”
The Virginia course is conducted by the Concealed Carry Institute. The owner of the website was questioned by a KRPC 2 News investigative reporter about the lower standards of his state. “The problem that I have philosophically is once government starts telling you what requirements are to exercise a manner of self-defense, they could require everyone to become an Olympic marksman.”
Pastor Terry Holcomb, the “Open Carry Preacher” that leads the organization Texas Carry, responded to Whitmire on RER, “He is completely out of his sandbox. He is not about to eliminate reciprocity with 42 other states. When we get into that Pink Dome, I assure you, he is going to get no traction with that. The Governor is guaranteed to veto such a bill. He knows it’s dead in the water. He can politicize this all day long, all he wants. But, it is going nowhere.”
The RERhotclip has the full interview with Holcomb on this issue. It also contains the investigative report from KPRC and the full comments of State Sen. Whitmire.
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