I have been an instructor certified by the Texas Department of Public Safety to teach License to Carry (LTC) courses in my home state of Texas since 2016, but I have been a supporter of constitutional carry my entire adult life. It is the inalienable right of any citizen who chooses to carry a firearm for any reason. 

Some may think it’s odd that a proponent of constitutional carry is also an instructor who is part of the licensing process in his state. In Texas, an individual must attend a LTC Instructor’s class as part of the process to obtain a “license to carry” – although Texas has had permitless carry since Sept. 1, 2021. But there are many benefits to holding a carry permit even if your state doesn’t require it – let’s take a look.

Why Get Certified in a Constitutional Carry State?

 

Concealed carry permit training at range and instructor certificate
In Texas, a concealed carry license requires range training, shown left and below right. At top right is the author's instructor certificate. (Photos: Darren Britto/Guns.com)


First and foremost, if you are going to carry a firearm, you should train and educate yourself on the laws. Whether you obtain a completion certificate, training credentials, or simple personal growth and improvement, training is critical whatever your purpose for carrying is. Ignorance of the law is not a defense for breaking the law.

In September 2021, in the state of Texas, people who qualified under the law could carry a handgun in a public place without the requirement of a license to carry. However, the LTC did not go away when the new law went into effect. In fact, the license to carry brings additional legal protections and advantages to those that obtain one. 

Though I can only speak for the benefits of the requisite training for a LTC in the state of Texas, I would think that other constitutional or permitless carry states have similar benefits, too. Just a few of the advantages that having a Texas LTC or carry permit from another state:

Reciprocity: This refers to states that recognize each other's handgun licenses, either by agreement or statute. At the time of this writing, 37 other states recognize the Texas LTC. For those reading this who do not live in The Lone Star State, that means if your state issues a license to carry, concealed handgun license, permit to carry, or however it’s referred to in your state, Texas and your state may recognize each other’s carry licenses.
 

Related: National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act Introduced in GOP Controlled House


National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS): Depending on your state’s laws, the individual with the carry license purchasing a firearm will not have to have their information submitted to NICS, in their state, because they have already had and passed a background check to obtain their carry license. In Texas, an individual with a LTC has had a background check as well as submitted fingerprints in the process of obtaining their LTC.
 

One of the best reasons to get a concealed carry permit, even in a permitless state, is the proof of training you can show. (Photo: Seth Rodgers/Guns.com)


Proof of training: The carry license you are issued should also be considered as training credentials, as it certifies that you have been through some type of training and education regimen prior to being issued the card.

Ability to carry in more locations: Businesses and other privately owned establishments may choose to allow only licensed carry on their premises, which is their prerogative. Even though Texas is a permitless carry state, private institutions can post signage stating that only LTC holders may carry on their premises. 
 

Related: Why Get a CCW Permit in a Constitutional Carry State?
 

Isn’t Permitless Carry and Constitutional Carry the Same Thing?

 

Classroom instruction for concealed carry permit
Classroom training is important, too, as it's vital to know the laws around handguns in your state. (Photos: Darren Britto/Guns.com)


They are two different terms that both refer to the concept of being able to carry a gun without a license. Although the terms permitless carry and constitutional carry are often used interchangeably, the definitions of the terms differ to a degree.

Permitless Carry: Permitless carry includes constitutional carry states as well as states where an individual must meet certain qualifications – e.g., no DUIs in the last 10 years – in order to legally carry. Some states are fully unrestricted, meaning no permit is required for open or concealed carry. Others allow the open carry of a handgun without a permit but require a permit for concealment. 

A lot of folks mistakenly refer to my home state of Texas as a constitutional carry state, because a permit is not needed for open or concealed carry. Sadly, Texas is not a true constitutional carry state but does have permitless carry. Texas has eligibility requirements along with further restrictions on methods of carry, where one can carry, as well as additional restrictions that do not apply to Texas LTC holders.

Constitutional Carry: Constitutional carry means that the state’s law does not prohibit citizens who can legally possess a firearm from carrying handguns openly and/or in a concealed manner – thus no state permit is required. Sometimes, constitutional carry may be conditional, such as in those states that have no laws prohibiting the open carry of a handgun but require a permit to carry the handgun concealed. Also, some states have constitutional carry for their state residents only.

The differences between the two are nuanced, but, again, the ability to carry a firearm without any type of license is the basic premise of both ideas.
 

Individuals and Occupations that Train

 

Training on tactical course with instructor
Even if your state doesn't require it, it's worth doing the training courses to earn a concealed carry permit. You can't beat individual training on a tactical course. (Photo: Don Summers/Guns.com)


Though citizens have an absolute right to keep and bear arms, it goes without question that if an individual wants to exercise that right and take on the mantle of responsibility, they should be able to be safe with their firearm and be able to make informed decisions on when, where and how to use it. Below are just a few reasons why firearms training may be important for individuals and occupations: 

Self-defense: Firearms can be used for self-defense in situations where an individual's life or safety is at risk. Proper training can help individuals to use firearms safely and effectively in these situations. Scenario-based “shoot/no shoot” training along with education on use of force and firearms handling are critical to ensure overall safety.
 

Related: Basic Training Videos for New Gun Owners
 

Law enforcement: Police officers and other law enforcement personnel use firearms as a part of their job. Training helps them to develop the necessary skills to handle firearms safely and use them effectively in high-stress situations while they serve our citizens at the municipal, state, and federal level.
 

Training at Coast Guard shooting range
A U.S. Coast Guard member fires a handgun at an indoor shooting range. (Photo: U.S. Coast Guard)


Military: Members of our military need to be proficient in the use of firearms for combat and other actions. Training ensures that they can use firearms safely and effectively in the numerous offensive and defensive operations they may encounter in their service to our nation.

Hunting: For those who hunt, firearms training is important for safety along with ensuring a successful harvest. Proper training is critical, as there will doubtless be other hunters in the area. Training to improve accuracy will make the overall hunt successful.

Sport shooting: For those who participate in shooting sports, training is necessary to develop the skills needed to compete and be proficient at a high level and to do so safely.
 

Practice in all phases of use with your firearm is essential to ensure you're comfortable from drawing it, left, to reloading, right. (Photos: Guns.com)


In all these situations, training is critical to ensure that individuals are able to handle firearms safely, effectively, and responsibly. In a blink of an eye, you can go from legally carrying your handgun to committing a felony if you do not know the laws specific to carrying a gun in your municipality or state. 

Obtaining the training and getting the education is inexpensive compared to the cost of time, money, and frustration of making a decision based on ignorance. Training gives you knowledge to be competent and confident as you practice your Second Amendment right.
 

Conclusion

Train! Don’t just read a book or watch a video. Get that feedback and follow-up from someone who’s not just going to tell you want you want to hear, but will tell you what you need to know, even if you don’t like it, to help you improve. 

Along with teaching the Texas LTC course, I am a defensive shooting instructor. I tell my clients, “The time to go through a scenario is not while you're going through the scenario.” I tell them to generate scenario-based “What if…?” questions so they can learn and plan course of action development as problems unfold.

Again, regardless of whether you live in a constitutional, permitless carry, or anti-2A state, train, educate yourself, and make informed decisions.

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