Bill filed to lessen CHL cost

Gun ControlBy Taylor Rexrode
Staff Writer

Concealed handgun licenses may become more affordable thanks to a bill filed by Rep. Charles “Doc” Anderson.

Anderson filed House Bill 2759 on March 7 with the intent of capping the CHL application cost at $95. The proposed cost would be $45 less than the $140 Texas citizens currently pay. The bill would prevent the current renewal fee of $70 to increase.

The reduced fee comes as a relief to Cisco senior Zachary Maxwell, director of operations for the Baylor chapter of Young Conservatives of Texas. He sees the reduced cost as a way to help students and citizens.

“I think it’s an excellent idea,” Maxwell said. “In this economy, it’s essential.”

Bushland junior Trenton Garza, president of Texas College Democrats, said he wants to get a concealed handgun license but sees the current cost as an obstacle.

“I’d love to get a concealed handgun license,” Garza said. “But when you get the cost of the class, the ammo, plus the gun itself, that is a pretty hefty financial ticket. As a full-time college student, it’s just a bit much for me at the moment.”

The CHL application is available through the Texas Department of Public Safety. CHL classes generally range from $75 to $100.

Waco senior Alex Garcia, on the other hand, said he thinks the current cost does not deter college students who wish to get their CHL.

“I think $140 is not that far of a stretch,” Garcia said. “If they’re willing to spend that much money on a gun, they should be willing to go that extra mile.”

Arlington junior Ryan Blue said he is glad the bill will reduce the cost because it will help people exercise their right. However, Blue said he sees some of the other handgun bills filed this year as harmful, such as Sen. Donna Campbell’s Senate Bill 864, which would cut the training hours requirement from 10 to four.

“We have a right as Americans to a concealed handgun license, but reducing the amount of training and education we can receive is an extremely bad decision,” Blue said.

Anderson’s bill is one of many this year that have involved handguns, including Campbell’s Senate bill and Sen. Brian Birdwell’s Senate Bill 182, which would allow concealed carry on public university campuses.

Maxwell said he sees Anderson’s legislation and other bills, including a House Bill 700 filed by Rep. George Lavender that would allow carrying in plain view, as opportunities for increased safety.

“It’s meant to give people their right to carry and protect themselves,” Maxwell said. “Where concealed carry is allowed, it’s safer, and I think open carry is good for deterrence. Sometimes you have to look past your feelings and see the fact that carrying saves lives.”

Garcia said he disagrees with guns ideologically and sees legislation like Campbell’s bill to reduce gun handling education as a negative reaction to recent tragedies.

“I think it’s an overreaction in the wake of all the tragedies,” Garcia said. “Instead of getting more gun savvy, they’re loosening regulation.”