More and more Texans are finding that it's never too late to arm yourself for protection. According to the Department of Public Safety, people in their 50s and 60s are getting concealed handgun licenses at a higher rate than any other group. For 2012, 57 was the most common age of someone applying for a CHL in Texas. The other top ages for CHL applicants ranged from 52 to 63. Texans must be at least 21 to get a concealed handgun license, but there is no maximum age limit as long as people can pass the test. In fact, DPS data shows that at least 16 people in their 90s applied for CHLs last year. The findings came in a report by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, which analyzed the state data on CHLs.
Ross Bransford is the president of CHL Texas, which trains people for concealed handgun licenses. He tells KTRH his classes usually have a broad mix of age groups. "We'll have people in the class in their 60s and 70s, and we'll have people in class who are in their 20s to 30," he says. However, Bransford notes there are possible reasons for the uptick in older applicants. "I've gotten a few more older people who are now looking at the class and giving the reason that it's not as long, so they think they can handle the day better." But the biggest reason for the increase in older people seeking CHLs may be that they tend to follow current events more than younger people. "It seems to be a trend that more of them feel the need to protect themselves, and they will usually quote one news story or another as the reason they've decided now is the time to get their license," says Bransford.
The rise in older people seeking firearms training mirrors an overall trend toward increased gun ownership in the Lone Star State. According to DPS, Texas has more than 580,000 concealed-carry permit holders statewide, and about 26% of those were issued last year alone. "Most people are beginning to understand that they have the right and responsibility of protecting themselves," says Bransford.