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Our 28th year of publishing

Published August 17, 2021

With open carry starting, should I renew my LTC?

By John Toth / The Bulletin

My license to carry (LTC) a handgun is expiring on my birthday this year in December. The question is: “Should I renew it, since the Firearm Carry Act will become law on Sept. 1?”

“You should definitely renew it,” said Mike Firkins at Big Kountry Shooting in Richwood during one of my visits. “You don’t have to retake the course. Just go to the website and fill out the renewal form.”

He then gave me a three-page pamphlet detailing why the license is still important and the benefits it provides.

That was good and bad news. The good news is that I don’t have to go through another course. The bad news is that I don’t have to go through another course.

Let me explain. In December of 2016, I decided to take the LTC course. I invited my three children to join me in taking it, starting at 8 a.m., Dec. 31, 2016.

I had nothing scheduled for that day, anyway. The course was being held, and I didn’t want to take it by myself. I told them that I would pay their fees if they came.

At 7:30 that morning, my daughter, Stephanie, pulled into my driveway, ready to take the course with me. I was really glad about that, since she worked in retail at the time and had to take money to the bank in the mornings. Knowing how and when to use a handgun would not be such a bad idea, I thought.

She had never fired or even held a gun before that day. That was about to change.

We sat through the classroom part, took notes and learned all about gun safety. Then it was time to drive out to the range for the shooting part.

Stephanie set up to the left of me, and we got ready for the first series of shots at the target. She fired away, let out a scream and dropped the gun.

Once her initial introduction to the weapon was over, she fired as the instructor directed, getting more comfortable as we progressed. We fired off about 50 shots.

The only problem I had was that some of the empty shells from her gun kept popping against my head, interfering with my accuracy. As it turned out, she beat me by a few points.

But I had an excuse. Also, I should have used my left eye to aim the handgun because something was bothering my right eye. And, it was raining, so that didn’t help.

We learned a lot and had fun at the range, even in the light rain. It was a great and productive way to spend the day on New Year's Eve.

That’s why not having to take the course again to get my LTC renewed is good and bad. I was looking forward to taking it again with Stephanie and whoever else in the family wanted to show up.

Even though Texas will permit the carrying of firearms without a license, an LTC allows possessing a firearm in places that a non-license person cannot. Buying a firearm is a lot faster with an LTC because it bypasses the background check. And, a good number of states recognize the Texas LTC, so you can carry legally in those states.

After taking the gun safety course, I became convinced that everyone who wants to carry should take it. It’s not expensive, and the information can save lives. It is one of the most important courses that I have taken.

“When you come down here, I have to take you to the gun range,” I keep telling Stephanie. “We’ll shoot off some expensive bullets.”

I bought her a gun that she has never had to fire in self-defense, thank God, but should a situation arise, she knows what to do and when to do it.

“You don’t protect money,” I told her. “You protect life.”

I renewed my LTC. It was $35 with a senior discount. I qualify for that now. But Stephanie still owes me a rematch. We’ll see who wins without her empty shells bouncing against my head.

(John looks forward to hearing from you on this subject. Send comments to john.bulletin@gmail.com. You can even send an old-fashioned letter to: The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516.)