WACO, TX — Texas's constitutional carry legislation is set to go into effect Sept. 1., and Texans 21 and older will be able to openly carry a handgun without a license as long they're legally able to possess a firearm. License to Carry instructors are already speaking out on the impact they're seeing and what they expect going forward.
"Confidence and competence are very important if you have a gun, especially if you don't know when how to use it under the law, Or when how to use it safely." Brian Konzelman is a Primary Instructor with Cen Tex Gun Training, said, "You're going to end up in jail."
Brian Konzelman says license to carry classes will understandably take a hit in participants in the short term. Still, he believes the number of people wanting to invest in gun-handling training will increase in the long run.
"The numbers of people wanting to get the license to carry will probably diminish, but I think the number of people wanting to know how to handle a gun and use a gun is going to increase."
Konzelman said he's already seen that reality in recent weeks.
"I generally field probably 12-15 contacts a day wanting to know about gun training," he said. "And I've gotten most of them in the past week because of the constitutional carry, actually wanting to know about gun handling training as opposed to just license to carry."
Konzelman also mentions there are still significant reasons for gun owners to go through the training and taking license to carry courses, and that's perhaps more important than ever before ahead of Sep. 1. For one - Reciprocity.
"Reciprocity means ok I'm going to drive into Kansas today, I'm constitutionally carrying here and I have my gun under Texas and that's fine," he explained. "But as soon, as I cross the state line, Kansas doesn't have constitutional carry and if I get pulled over I'm going to jail. If i have my license to carry there is reciprocity between some of the states."
And that a license also gives you greater flexibility when purchasing another handgun because you've already gone through the background check process and gives you more options as to where you can carry.
"The other thing is under the constitutional carry legislation any information that is posted.For example, if you see the picture of a circle with a line on it and picture of a gun. If you're constitutional carry you can't carry past that onto somebody elses property. if you have a license to carry, you can." "The license to carry gives you many more options as to where you can carry."
But the most important reason always seems to come back to education and safety.
"Having a gun without gun handling skills leaves you in a very precarious position. If you own a gun with gun handling skills. It can actually be a tool that saves your life."