Complete coverage of the 83rd session of the Texas Legislature.

Proposal to Allow Combo Concealed Handgun, Driver's Licenses

CHL carriers have mixed views on bill in Legislature

By Omar Villafranca
|  Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013  |  Updated 7:32 PM CDT
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A bill making its way through Austin would give concealed handgun carriers the option to combine their license with their driver's license.

Omar Villafranca, NBC 5 News

A bill making its way through Austin would give concealed handgun carriers the option to combine their license with their driver's license.

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Concealed handgun licenses in Texas are almost as popular licenses to drive.

House Bill 158 would give CHL carriers the option to combine both licenses into one.

"If a person who has a concealed handgun wants to put that identification on their driver's license, then they can put that on there," said the bill's author, Rep. Van Taylor. "I've gotten a really good response from concealed handgun license owners. They say, 'Hey, that's a great idea; that means I would get to go and walk around with one card instead of two cards."

Taylor, a Republican, said the dual license would come in handy during a traffic stop.

“Currently under state law, when a person is pulled over by a police officer, they are required to provide their CHL and their driver's license if they're driving, and this would allow it to be one simple piece of paper or one card," he said.

The bill would not make a dual license mandatory.

But some concealed handgun license carriers are a little gun shy about the bill.

"With all the negative press and everything that is going on right now and the environmental conditions that are going around right now, a lot of people want to keep their status to themselves," said Damon Ing, a concealed handgun license instructor in Fort Worth.

Ing, who is also a police officer in Saginaw, said many of his students want their handguns and licenses to stay concealed.

"Every time they use their driver's license for identification purposes -- or writing a check, credit cards or even if you do a product return at some merchants -- it’s going to be available there, so they’re going to know their status as a CHL carrier, so some people don’t want to have that on their driver’s license," he said. "Some people are going to want to stay quiet about CHL status, and some would like to have it openly discernible to everyone."

Taylor said the dual license could cost carriers up to $20, but the cost is ultimately up to the state of Texas.

More: House Bill 158

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