No shooting required: Concealed weapon licenses with a twist

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by DAVID SCHECHTER and DEAN TRAVINSKI

Bio | Email | Follow: @davidschechter

WFAA

Posted on June 23, 2010 at 11:18 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 24 at 6:00 PM

DENTON — Perhaps the most interesting thing about the concealed handgun class taught by Brad Brasuell of Denton is this: There is no shooting of an actual handgun.

Brasuell doesn't believe in it. And even though it's required by Texas law, he doesn't have to teach it.

"It's a false sense of security, is what it is," he said.

It's an open secret on gun ranges across Texas. You can get a license to carry a concealed weapon without ever having fired a gun.

How can that be?

A growing number of instructors offer Texas students a chance to get another state’s concealed handgun license, which does not require any live shooting.

And it's perfectly legal.

That's because Brasuell offers a course to qualified Texas students using Utah's concealed handgun program.

Across Texas and around the nation, the Utah classes are very popular. Here's a comparison:

  • Texas requires 10 hours of class time; Utah, four hours
  • Texas requires a written test; Utah does not
  • Texas requires range time;  Utah does not

When it's over, Texas students get a Utah license; in the eyes of the law in Texas, there is no absolutely no difference between the two.

In the last 18 months, Brasuell taught nearly 2,000 Texas residents in the Utah gun class, more than anyone else in the state.

"This program gets to the nuts and bolts of understanding what you need to know,” said Brad Belshaw, one of Brasuell’s recent students.

And that, according to Brasuell, is what makes his course it so popular. "With the Utah program, I'm able to concentrate 100 percent of my time and focus on the 20 percent of the core material that people need to know of the day-to-day of carrying a handgun,” he said.

Jerry Raburn is a Denton County Constable and a Texas-certified instructor. He says Texas should not recognize out-of-state licenses issued to Texas residents, particularly ones that require no shooting.

“Shame on the instructor, shame on the license holder and shame on the State of Texas for allowing it,” Raburn said. “I'm probably not going to make any friends saying this, but I don't like taking shortcuts. And we shouldn't be taking them.”

The Texas Department of Public Safety, which issues licenses in this state, says it has no authority to prohibit or control the teaching of Utah classes in Texas. Only the legislature can change that.

Raburn thinks it should. "It's getting around the intent of the Texas statutes,” he said.

Many states have agreements to recognize each other's concealed handgun licenses. Raburn says the effect of the Utah program is to lower everyone else's standards.

News 8 found that in the last year-and-a-half, Utah issued nearly 74,000 licenses to residents of other states — 40 percent more than the number issued to its own citizens.

"They make it user-friendly,” Brasuell said.

But the question, for critics like Constable Raburn, is — is that enough?

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com

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