Coming home from our cabin a couple of nights ago my husband, Larry, and I were discussing speed limits on the road we travel. They vary greatly and while it can be 70 in one place, it is 55 or less just a few miles down the road. In the midst of our conversation he looked in the rear view mirror and saw red and blue lights.
We pulled over and I immediately said, “Remember the rules when you have a CHL!” I knew Larry was armed. The proper way to handle a traffic stop in Texas when you do have a CHL (Concealed Handgun License) is:
- Have your driver’s license, proof of insurance and CHL ready when the officer reaches your vehicle.
- Give them to him as he approaches your vehicle and then place your hands at the 10 and 2 position on the steering wheel.
- Wait for the officer to question you.
Once we were free to proceed on our way home we began to discuss good reasons to have a CHL. I believe a CHL is important and the decision to carry concealed is personal and not to be taken lightly. However, criminals will always have guns and that in itself is a reason for law abiding citizens to be armed. My recommendations are:
- Know the Law. The class required in Texas for a CHL is VERY informative an in fact is more stringent than many other states. Eight hours of intense training including a trip to the firing range. You are educated on the intricacies of Texas law concerning the justifiable use of deadly force. Even if you choose NOT to carry, you always have the option to do so should circumstances change.
- Gun Safety. I do not know about all CHL instructors but the gentleman I took my class from (a Baptist preacher by the way) taught a lot about gun safety and self-defense in general. He used me as an example and showed the class the proper way to hold your gun if you suspect an intruder is in your home. Trust me on this, you do not need to learn your stance from reruns of “Charlie’s Angels”.
- Reciprocity. 35 states honor a Texas CHL.
- Purchasing a Gun. A Texas CHL exempts you from the NICS check when purchasing a gun from a retailer.
- Good Citizenship. If you are going to carry, having a CHL sets a good example to your friends and family. Please do not carry without a license.
- Makes it safer to go to Wal-Mart at night (or in the day time). Enough said about that one.
- Safety in Numbers. A large number of people having CHLs become a major influence on politicians and their voting records relating to 2nd amendment rights. Remember, we voted them into office to work for us. We can vote them out if they do not represent us well.
- Timing. Remember – when seconds count the police are only minutes away.
- Officer Safety. A CHL identifies you as someone who has not been convicted of a crime in the past 5 years. In an encounter with law enforcement, this reduces perception of threat to officer safety.
So like Paul Harvey, I will now give you “the rest of the story” pertaining to Larry’s conversation with the Texas State Trooper. The officer approached our vehicle and Larry presented him with the proper documents. The conversation then went something like this:
Officer: Mr. Terrell, I stopped you tonight because you were speeding. I am just going to give you a warning but I need to know if you are armed.
Larry: Yes sir, I am.
Officer: Is it loaded?
Larry: Yes sir, it is.
Officer: Wouldn’t be much good if it wasn’t, would it?
Larry: No sir, it would not.
Officer: Wait here please while I print your warning ticket and then you can proceed on your way.
The officer came back with the printed warning and bid us a good evening. As we drove away, I said, “No where but Texas!”
Thank God I live in a state where our 2nd amendment rights are revered and concealed carry is encouraged for law-abiding citizens.
George Washington in addressing the 2nd session of the United States Congress said:
“The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference. They deserve a place of honor with all that is good. When firearms go, all goes. We need them every hour.”