Concealed Handgun License Statistics

Posted in Concealed Carry General, General, Gun Safety, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on July 20, 2010 by The Armed Texan

Well, as many of you know (at least I hope), I am a certified concealed handgun license instructor in the State of Texas.  As such, I’m an avid supporter of our second amendment right to keep and bear arms.  I believe that if we don’t exercise our rights they will eventually be taken away from us.  I don’t think this will happen in the form of a swift movement where all guns are confiscated and destroyed.  Rather, I think the degradation of this right will be a slow, painful process through regulation and red tape.  It will happen incrementally, and before we realize what has happened, that right will be something of legend that grandparents can tell their grand children about.  I sincerely hope I’m wrong.

This leads me to the point of this entry.  As an instructor, I am constantly meeting people who are anti-gun and believe in more gun control and regulation.  The mindset of these folks simply eludes me.  Gun control will never equal a reduction in crime.  Chicago and Washington DC are two prime examples of this.  Both of these cities have had the strictest gun laws in the country.  Until the last year, it has been basically illegal to possess a gun in these areas, and even though SCOTUS ruled these bans unconstitutional, they’ve made so much red tape to obtain one legally that it is still nearly impossible to own a gun legally there.  Despite that fact, these two cities have some of the worst crime (gun-related crime) in our country.  How can that be?

Now, if you look at states like Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma, Utah, etc.  These states, as a whole have far less gun crime than similarly populated areas with more gun control.  There is simply no getting around the fact that an armed society is a polite society.  Utah is one of the few places in the country that has allowed concealed carry of guns onto college campuses.  They have done this for many years, and in all that time there has never been any occurrence of a college shooting on campus there.  This has been said in countless gun arguments but it’s validity is sound.  Gun control laws only restrict law-abiding citizens, not criminals.  A man about to commit a crime in a gun-free zone (like a college campus at say Virginia Tech) isn’t going to change his mind because carrying a gun there is illegal; however, if it was not a gun-free zone, he might seriously think twice about the crime he’s going to commit.

In the State of Texas, you must pass a rigorous background check and be a pretty upstanding citizen to obtain a concealed handgun license.  The criteria are roughly as follows:

  • Must be a legal resident for 6 months preceding the application date
  • Must be at least 21 years of age
  • Must never have been convicted of a felony
  • Must not be currently charged with commission of a Class A or B misdemeanor or felony
  • Must not be chemically dependant
  • Must be capable of exercising sound judgment with respect to the proper use and storage of a handgun
  • Must not, in the 5 years preceding the application date, been convicted of a Class A or B misdemeanor, or an offense under Section 42.01 Penal Code
  • Is fully qualified under applicable federal and state laws to purchase a handgun
  • Must not be finally determined to be delinquent in making child support payments
  • Must not be finally determined to be delinquent in the payment of tax or other money collected by the comptroller, the tax collector of a political subdivision of the state, or any agency or subdivision of the state
  • Must not be currently restricted under a court protective order or subject to a restraining order affecting the spousal relationship, other than a restraining order solely affecting property interests.
  • Must not, in the 10 years preceding the application date been adjudicated as having engaged in delinquent conduct violating a felony grade penal law
  • Must not make any material representation or failure to disclose any material fact in an application pursuant to section 411.174
  • Active Duty or Honorably Discharged veterans must be at least 18
    or equivalent offense

    That being said, it’s fairly difficult to obtain a CHL, and the people that do are most likely very good people, so why should we restrict their right to protect themselves and their loved ones?  So why do I mention all of this?  Well the answer is that the Brady Campaign along with other anti-gun groups and people always make the argument that more gun control will reduce crime.  It is simply untrue.  Furthermore, the anti-gun crowd argues that less gun control, and specifically allowing more relaxed concealed carry laws will lead to more blood running in the streets and basically a chaotic state of affairs where people with guns will go on rampages against society.

    The Texas Department of Public Safety Concealed Handgun Licensing Service has compiled some statistics pertaining to CHLs.  I have taken their data and compiled them into charts to illustrate the proven track record of CHL holders in Texas.

    CHLs Issued

    CHLs Issued by Year in Texas

    This chart shows the number of CHLs issued by year and gender in the State of Texas from the inception of the program in 1995 through 12/31/2009.

    CHLs Denied, Suspended, or Revoked

    Denials, Suspensions, and Revocations of CHLs in Texas

    This chart shows the number of licenses that have been denied, suspended, or revoked from the inception of the program through 12/31/2009.  I listed the requirements at the beginning of this entry.  As you can see, the number denials is relatively low when compared with the number of issued licenses.  In fact, I had to split it into two charts because having them together makes it almost unreadable due to the disparity between the numbers.  You’ll notice also that the numbers of suspensions and revocations is very small.

    Active CHL Holders By Year

    Active CHL Holders By Year

    This chart shows the number of Active CHL Holders by year from inception of the program in Texas through 12/31/2009.  As you can see the number of CHL Holders has increased considerably through the years.  Oddly, we haven’t seen a huge increase in the number of gun-related crimes that would be consistent with this chart of growth by CHL Holders.

    Total Convictions in Texas

    Total Convictions (By CHL Holders and Non-CHL Holders) in Texas By Year

    As you can see by the caption, this chart shows the number of convictions in Texas by year.  This data includes both CHL Holders and Non-CHL holders (ie everyone).  I put this here as a point of reference for the next chart which will show the number of CHL holder convictions in Texas for the same time frames.  I tried to merge them together but the numbers were so disparate that you could not make out the CHL numbers at all. Also this chart and the charts below only have data from 1996 – 2007.  The Department of Public Safety has not yet released the 2008 and 2009 data on their website, so I could not include it.  It was definitely not purposefully left off of these charts.

    CHL Holder Convictions in Texas By Year

    CHL Holder Convictions in Texas By Year

    As you can see these numbers are insignificant when compared with the total number of convictions in Texas. It is evident that CHL holders do not pose a more significant threat to other citizens than non-CHL holders.

    Percent of Total Convictions by CHL Holders

    Percent of Total Convictions by CHL Holders

    Now, you’ll see here that this chart shows, in blue, the % of total convictions in Texas that were committed by CHL Holders.  There isn’t a single year where this percentage is higher than 0.5%.  That is definitely saying something.  Clearly the anti-gun crowd is just flat wrong about their predictions of mass bloodshed by less stringent gun laws.  I will admit the least accurate section of this entire page is in regards to the red parts of the chart above.  This is my attempt to show the percentage of CHL Holders to Population in the same chart showing % of CHL Holder Convictions to full population convictions.  My thought was to show that as population increases, CHL holder convictions do not.  Unfortunately, this data isn’t readily available on the DPS website.  So, I took the most recent (2009) Census data from the US Census Bureau, and calculated this figure, by year, for the % of Texans over 18.  If I could have had figures for over 21, that would have been better, but they did not have those figures.  Also, I didn’t have a breakdown by year, so I used the 2009 population data for every year between 1996 and 2007.  This is obviously in error as the population has not stayed static for that date range.  So, the increase in the number of CHL holders as it relates to population is not accurate.  If I had the correct population numbers for each year, then the data would be far more in favor of making CHL holders look good.

    Sources

    Conclusion

    The bottom line here is that no matter how badly the anti-gun crowd would like to paint CHL holders as gun-crazed lunatics, the data simply does not exist to support their argument.  The fact is, that nearly every CHL holder I’ve ever met has been polite, level-headed, and respectful to myself and others.  Perhaps if places like Virginia Tech had allowed concealed carry of guns by law abiding citizens, the devastation of the tragedy that occurred there could have been significantly less than it was.

    Well folks, that’s all for now, and remember to always watch your six!


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    Ruger SP101 – Hogue Monogrip

    Posted in Concealed Carry Weapons, Concealment, Gun Safety, Self Defense with tags , , , , , , on July 19, 2010 by The Armed Texan

    I’ve been meaning to write this for some time.  My favorite carry revolver (usually when I need super deep concealment), is my Ruger SP-101.  It’s a great weapon.  You can read the review here.  It’s a fantastic revolver that is built like a tank.  It has never failed me in any way, and despite jeers from my fellow CHL Instructor applicants for using such a small revolver for the instructor range qualification, I scored nearly perfect on the range with it for my qualification (and that was using .357 Magnum loads instead of .38 Special because at the time I could not find any DPS approved ammunition in anything other than .357 Magnum).

    Anyway, that brings my to my point, the ONLY negative thing I can say about this gun is it’s factory grip.  It’s horrible for several reasons:

    • It is too short causing my pinky to hang off the bottom (and half of my ring finger too)
    • It is too shallow (the distance between the backstrap and the front strap).  This causes an uncomfortable grip, and slower target re-acquisition for me as opposed to a more full style grip.  This is even more pronounced when shooting a .357 Magnum cartridge instead of .38 Special.
    • The retaining screw (screw that secures the grip onto the frame) instead of being recessed or at least flush with the side of the grip, sticks out completely, and the plastic around it has a rather sharp edge to it.  This causes it to seriously wear the inside of your palm.  It’s very easy to have a blister after only 50 rounds through this gun.

    Based on these facts, it became clear that what I needed was a better grip.  I had thought about some beautiful wooden grips to compliment this gun, and while the look would certainly suit me, this isn’t a show piece, it’s a carry weapon, and what I really wanted was a solid grip that would allow me to retain control of my firearm as well as possible in an emergency situation.  Therefore I settled on Hogue Monogrips.  These are fantastic.  It is as if Hogue manufactured these grips using my hand as a model.  The finger grooves make the grip infinitely more stable, they fit my hand perfectly, and my pinky no longer hangs off the bottom.  I had read several horror stories about people having difficulties installing them on the Ruger SP-101.  I don’t know why that was but I had mine replaced in less than 5 minutes with no issues whatsoever.  In fact I was all set to do a write-up on the install, but it was so easy it seems pointless.  Admittedly the instructions that came with the grips were a bit lacking; however, it’s pretty self-explanatory.

    Here are a few before / after photos to illustrate the differences.

    Ruger SP-101 with Factory Grip

    Ruger SP-101 with Factory Grip

    In this photo, this is my revolver as it was shipped from the factory.  You’ll notice how narrow the grip is from front to back when compared with the Hogue Monogrip.  This reduced my accuracy considerably.  It also led to a less than ideal grip stability.

    Ruger SP-101 with Hogue Monogrips

    Ruger SP-101 with Hogue Monogrips

    As you can see in this image the grip has finger grooves and no side screw, and it is much wider than the factory grip.

    Ruger SP-101 Grip Comparison

    Ruger SP-101 Factory Grip Compared to Hogue Monogrip

    This is a photo illustrating the grips next to each other.  This really illustrates how much taller the grip is, allowing for your entire hand to have a firm grasp of the firearm.

    Conclusion

    The rubber grips may not be as beautiful as a quality wooden grip, but for a weapon that I entrust the with safety of myself and my family, it’s the function rather than the beauty that I prioritize.  I can say with utmost confidence that if you are looking for a quality grip that will improve your accuracy, comfort, and looks of your revolver, then you cannot go wrong with the Hogue Monogrip.

    Well folks, that’s all for now, and remember to always watch your six!

    Two Intruders Shot By Tulsa Apartment Resident

    Posted in Self Defense with tags , , on July 15, 2010 by The Armed Texan

    Score 2 for the good guys.  I’m glad this woman had the ability to protect herself by exercising her RKBA.  She’s lucky that she was able to gain the time to retrieve her gun from her purse.

    Two Intruders Shot By Tulsa Apartment Resident – NewsOn6.com – Tulsa, OK

    I hope that she isn’t evicted from her apartments for choosing to protect herself instead of being raped and / or murdered.

    Well folks, that’s all for now, and remember to always watch your six!

    CHL Class – 8/21/2010

    Posted in CHL Classes with tags , , , on July 14, 2010 by The Armed Texan

    For more information or to register please visit our site:

    CHL Classes Arlington, TX

    Details:

    We have an upcoming CHL Class in Arlington, TX on 8/21/2010.  This class will be for New and Renewal students.  Please register on our website if you would like to attend.  If you have already received a packet from the state, then  please bring it, otherwise we will provide one for you.

    Cost:

    New – $100

    Renewal – $75

    Time: 8am – 7pm with a 1 hour break for lunch.

    We will provide breakfast and and an afternoon snack at no additional cost to you.

    For more information or to register please visit our site:

    CHL Classes Arlington, TX

    Well folks, that’s all for now, and remember to always watch your six!

    Las Vegas Shooting of Concealed Carry Permit Holder

    Posted in General, Gun Safety with tags , , , , , on July 14, 2010 by The Armed Texan

    Erik Scott PictureOn Saturday, July 10, 2010,  Erik Scott was shopping at Costco in Summerlin, NV.  He had two weapons on him, but was legally carrying them because he was licensed to carry concealed weapons in NV.  He was also a West Point Graduate with a Master’s Degree from Duke University.  Police responded to the 911 calls, and ended up shooting Erik multiple times, killing him.  The problem is that there are a huge number of eye witnesses whose stories all differ.  Eye witnesses are horribly unreliable in these types of cases.  The police are calling the shooting justified because they claim that Erik was drawing his weapon on police.  That seems highly unlikely given that he had four guns pointed at him, and that he was a West Point graduate.  Unfortunately, we will likely never get the full account of this story.  I only hope that there is adequate surveillance video of the event that will show what really happened.  This is a tragic event, and my prayers go out to Mr. Scott’s family for their loss.  I will be following this story closely to see what ends up happening.  Here is a link to one of the many news stories surrounding this tragic event:

    Police Shooting at Costco

    As a CHL instructor in Texas, I urge anyone with a license to carry concealed, and who exercises their rights to do so, to be very cautious.  I would hate to think that Mr. Scott died because of a police mistake or a mistake on his part that was taken for an aggressive move.  I don’t know if that was the case, but it might well have been.

    Well folks, that’s all for now, and remember to always watch your six!

    Great Article on Fox News about Concealed Carry

    Posted in General, Politics on July 2, 2010 by The Armed Texan

    My Thoughts

    The Brady campaign, in their quest to kill our constitutional right to keep and bear arms, is constantly trying to spin news stories concerning defensive shootings as examples of the problems that gun ownership causes.  The reality is that, bad people sometimes do bad things.  There is no getting around that.  That said, all the gun control in the world isn’t going to stop bad people from doing bad things; however, the one thing gun control is guaranteed to do is to infringe on our ability to protect ourselves and our loved ones from the nefarious deeds of people who will always be outside of gun control, the bad people in this world.

    If you were to listen to Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign, you’d think that the streets would be a constant blood bath in places with less gun control.  Take Utah for example.  In Utah, you can carry concealed weapons on college campuses.  By the Brady Campaign logic, you’d expect a shooting a day at college from this policy.  Oddly enough, there doesn’t seem to be any record of a shooting on a college campus there.  How well did the gun-free zone at Virginia Tech work out?  I’m not making light of the tragedy that befell that school and her students.  In fact, I’m appalled that our society had degraded to the point that a tragedy like this can be allowed to happen because our rights to bear arms have been infringed.

    The bottom line is that the Brady Campaign has been making false claims for years to brainwash Americans into believing that it is in their best interest to enact strict gun laws for their protection.  They have no data to back up the claims they’ve made, and in cases where strict gun laws are in place such as Chicago and Washington DC, the gun violence is far worse than in other places.

    All of this brings me to an excellent article I read on Fox News.  I encourage all of you to read it.

    Click Here For the Article

    Well folks, that’s all for now, and remember to always watch your six!

    Proper Handgun Grip

    Posted in Gun Safety with tags , , on June 29, 2010 by The Armed Texan

    The Problem

    I’ve seen too many instances lately in my classes of people not employing a proper grip technique.  While there isn’t just one way to grip a semi-automatic handgun properly, there certainly is one way not to grip a semi-automatic handgun. “So what’s the big deal if I don’t grip it properly,” you might ask.  Well the answer is, that if you grip it the wrong way you can end up with a severely cut (or even broken) thumb.  This can turn an otherwise pleasurable range session into a less than fun experience.

    The Improper Grip

    First, lets define strong hand, and weak hand.  The strong hand is the hand you will have your primary grip with.  The weak hand is your other hand.  For me, I’m right-handed, so I grip my handgun first with my right hand, and for a two-handed grip, support with my left hand.  Thus, my strong hand is my right, and my weak hand is my left.  So now that we have that clarified, let’s discuss the actual grip.  What often happens is that the shooter will grip the handgun with his strong hand, and then overlap his weak hand on the rear of the pistol with the weak hand thumb crossing over the strong hand on the top / rear of the grip as in the image below:

    Improper Handgun Grip Image

    The problem with this grip is that when the round is discharged in the chamber the slide will cycle back.  If your thumb is crossed like this, then the slide will have a strong chance to impact your weak hand causing a deep cut, or in worse cases a broken thumb.  In addition to the risk of injury, this grip is not as steady, and therefore leads to poorer accuracy than some of the more preferred, and definitely safer, grips.

    The Proper Grip

    There are multiple grips which one could safely employ, and you have to choose one that works well for you.  My personal favorite is the grip where the weak hand is placed with overlapping fingers on the front strap of the grip and strong hand, and where the weak hand thumb rides parallel to and slightly under the strong hand thumb.  This grip is superior in several ways to the improper grip mentioned above.  First, it allows you to be more steady in your shooting as it tends to reduce the effect of your weapon being pulled to the left or right as you squeeze the trigger.  Secondly, it allows you recover more quickly from recoil and to re-acquire your sight picture more effectively.  Third, it uses the weak hand as a support only, and not as a primary grip on the weapon.  An example of this grip technique can be seen in the image below:

    Proper Handgun Grip Image

    As you can see the rear of the handgun is completely clear of your weak hand to give the slide plenty of clearance to cycle without risk of injury.  The only caveat to this grip is to ensure that you don’t ride your thumb up too high and hit any serrations that exist on the slide near the front that might contact the thumb when it cycles.  This just takes a bit of practice and adjustment based on the hand size and the weapon in question.

    Conclusion

    The bottom line is that we want to stay safe on the range so that we can enjoy our session, and a quick way to turn around an exciting trip to the range is to start out with an injury that could easily have been avoided.  I recommend practicing this grip technique every chance you get.  No matter where you practice, please employ proper gun safety. My recommendation is to practice with a model gun (blue gun or similar), or an unloaded airsoft gun.  If you absolutely must use a real gun at home, then please make sure it is unloaded and pointed in a safe direction at all times.  If you practice this gun grip technique, I think you’ll find that it improves your accuracy at the range once you get it down to muscle memory.

    Well folks, that’s all for now, and remember to always watch your six!