I remember hearing a joke on the radio a few years back. The announcer said he would never get into a road-rage fight with a Texas woman. Why? Because there’s around a 25% chance that it’s “that time of the month” for her. And also, because we’re here in the great state of Texas, there’s a small chance she has a CHL and may or may not be packing that day. And this guy didn’t want to get in an altercation with a hormonal woman who was packing. I must say, this guy sounds smart!
I believe that now, among Texas Concealed Handgun License holders, 20% are women, and four years ago I joined the ranks of Texas women who have one. This past weekend I had to complete a renewal course. Four years ago, the reason I got mine was because I was commuting a lot and there are some roads in Texas where it can be a bit scary to drive late at night or early in the morning. Of course it’s also my right both as a US Citizen and Texas resident, so why not? The first time around required 10 hours of my time, including both a classroom and practical shooting portion — yes, thankfully with all the citizens that do carry in Texas, we must prove we can shoot accurately before they’ll let us carry a firearms where it’s legal to do so. And you can’t just sleep through the classroom portion — you must complete a test. Luckily the second time around for the renewal, the total time is about 4 hours — phew!
In any case, GG2G fan and friend Julianna Crowder, the Glock Girl herself, invited me to join a group she was instructing.
We started with the practical portion and although it wasn’t as cold as the other night, it was still cold and windy up at Best of the West in Liberty Hill, which, by the way, is a great outdoor range in the north Austin area.
Then I merely had to sit through the same boring stuff as last time. Just kidding Julianna!!! In reality, Julianna is a smart woman and decided to use modern technology, unlike the instructor I previously had who gave us handouts to read (hello, not environmentally friendly!). So she lead us through a few PowerPoints covering everything from the basics to the laws we should be aware of.
One of the reasons we love Julianna here at GG2G is that she is sassy just like us. I imagine part of it might have to do with the fact that she’s the only woman in a household with a husband and two teenage boys, but I digress. She kept things interesting, making jokes at appropriate times and answering all our questions. My only disappointment was that my training was over before we got to the good stuff — the real world examples of how to handle situations in which one might have to use a handgun in self-defense. Though for some examples hop on over to Natalie’s post on the Utah CCW class.
But there were some important facts I learned (or re-learned) that I wanted to share with y’all:
- Use of deadly force is only to stop someone who is an imminent threat to yourself or others.
- The NRA sets the standard for safety when it comes to all guns – something that inherently makes sense but I’d never thought of. It’s the source of GG2G’s safety guidance.
- For all guns, keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot. Seriously. There are too many stories of accidental discharges where someone takes their gun out of their holster with their finger on the trigger and shoots themselves in the foot. Google it. You’ll see what I mean.
- When handling semi-automatics, always do a chamber check when it’s handed to you. Even if the person who handed it to you did so, you should get in the habit of doing it yourself so as to avoid a “negligent discharge” should you not check – sadly, it only takes one time.
- Speaking of “negligent discharges”, there are two major causes of gun accidents – ignorance and carelessness. Making gun safety inherent in everything you do when handling firearms will keep you and others around you safe.
- In Texas, after the Castle Doctrine was passed in 2007, your car is now considered part of your “castle” and you no longer need a CHL to carry in your car. However, your handgun must be concealed; this is not true for long guns (I mean really, how would you hide the rifle rack in your truck?). Check out Texas Custom Holsters for some pretty unique ways of concealing your gun in your car.
- Although Texas has reciprocity with 29 states and our CHL is recognized in 2, it’s always good to check with your destinations and/or the states you will be driving through if you plan to travel with your firearm.
- If you’re looking for some online resources, especially if you’ll be traveling, check out HandGunLaw.US and OpenCarry.org.
- If you get pulled over, even if you’re not carrying that day, it’s always a good idea to hand the officer both your DL and CHL, because it’ll come up when he looks you up in his computer anyway, and let’s be honest, you really don’t want to give cops a reason to be annoyed with you, right?
- There is lo legal limit (in Texas) for intoxication and carrying. Yes, you read that right. I’ve always thought it was 0.08 like with a DUI. But here in the great state it’s all up to the officer to decide if you’re impaired. To be honest, I kinda like this. Because even though your BAC might read 0.08, if you’re a 5’2”, 100-lb girl this can be much different than, say, a 6’4”, 220-lb man. But this also means that you could’ve had one beer an hour ago and the cop thinks you’re intoxicated regardless of your BAC.
Overall, it was a good refresher, especially as I think Julianna covered more than I remember from the first time around. And I highly recommend that if you’re a woman looking to get your CHL in Central Texas, see if you can get into one of her classes. It really is less intimidating learning from a woman than from a man!