Senate Bill 864 (enrolled version) has been sign by the Governor and will become effective September 1, 2013. Many people are under the impression that an original CHL course will now be 4 hours and that is completely incorrect. The changes in the law limit the number of classroom hours on the four required topics to no less than 4 hours and no more than 6 hours of classroom instruction (was no less than 10 no more than 15) on:
(1) The laws that relate to weapons and to the use of deadly force;
(2) Handgun use, and safety
(3) Nonviolent depute resolution; and
(4) Proper storage practices for handguns with an emphasis on storage practices that eliminate the possibility of accidental injury to a child.
That has been the same classroom subjects required since 1995 the only thing it eliminates is “proficiency training” meaning basic marksmanship ion the classroom portion. Most CHL classes average around 6 hours for those four required subjects to be covered correctly. If one reads the bill in its entirety, unlike most politicians, you will see that the 4 to 6 hours doesn’t include:
Section 2. (a) the director by rule shall establish minimum standards for handgun proficiency and shall develop a course to teach handgun proficiency and examinations to measure handgun proficiency. The course to teach handgun proficiency is required for each person who seeks to obtain or renew a license and must contain training sessions divided into two parts. One part of the course must be classroom instructions (4-6 hours) and the other must be range instruction and an actual demonstration by the applicant of the applicant’s ability to safely and proficiently use the applicable category of handgun. So, the range training/proficiency time is not included in the 4 to 6 hours of classroom training.
So, what does this all mean? Well, yes an instructor can rush through the laws in 4 hours if they want, most likely leaving students without critical info, but, it still doesn’t include the required proficiency training and the range. Anyone who offers a 4 hour Original CHL that includes the shooting in 4 hours is violating the law! Additionally, there is no time limit or maximum time one can spend on range training and proficiency. The classroom instruction on the four required subjects is the only thing that has a time minimum 4 hours/maximum 6 hours.
Why did they do this? My guess is due to all the lower quality instructors who don’t understand the law and really don’t understand the use of force who spend hours talking about guns and ammo rather than the pertinent information. They now must do what is required rather than waste peoples time. We will continue to offer quality professional instruction within the 4 to 6 hour requirement in the classroom, but remember it still doesn’t include proficiency training and range time. At best there may be some super-fast class that does it all in 5 hours but is that what a responsible person wants?
As far as renewals go you’ll be able to take on online class via DPS or a CHL instructor. You can still choose to attend an actual renewal class by an instructor with a minimum of 4 hours classroom training. If you choose online renewal you’ll still need to go to an instructor and qualify on the range. Technically, they’ve made the renewal class 4 hours of classroom alone, no range time which is mandatory. So, a renewal class has to be over 4 hours to be legal as the classroom alone must be 4 hours.
In reality Original CHL classes may be a couple of hours shorter but to get the correct info to people and run a safe range it will take over 6 hours. Please pass this info on to your friends and relatives who are waiting for the magical 4 hour Texas Original CHL course from start to finish, it won’t legally exist…
Phil Ryan is a licensed Texas police firearms instructor, staff police academy instructor and CHL instructor since 1995. www.txconcealedcarry.com