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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke March 17, 2011

Jeff Wentworth says few Texans are licensed for concealed handguns

Defending his legislation to allow concealed handguns on college campuses, state Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, said not many Texans have the state license that’s required to even carry a concealed gun.

"We have over 25 million people who live in Texas and less than 2 percent of them have these licenses," he said on CNN on Feb. 22. 

According to the 2010 census, about 25.1 million people live in Texas.

Next, we turned to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Spokesman Tom Vinger told us that "a little over 460,000" people in Texas have concealed handgun licenses. A 1995 Texas law allows adults 21 and older who meet certain requirements, including passing a background check, to get such licenses.

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Vinger pointed us to the department’s annual reports on active concealed handgun license and instructor counts. As of Dec. 31, Texas has 461,724 active license holders, according to the department’s most recent report, posted online Feb. 14.

We also wondered whether other states had a similarly low percentage of concealed handgun-license holders. According to a fact-sheet posted on the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action’s website in April, 40 states have laws allowing individuals to carry handguns, with Florida issuing more carry permits than any other state — 1.7 million. That’s about 9 percent of Florida’s 18.5 million-large population, according to a 2009 estimate by the Census Bureau.

So, 1.8 percent of the Texas population is licensed to carry a concealed handgun.

We rate Wentworth’s statement as True.

Our Sources

CNN, Guns on campus?, Feb. 22, 2011

Texas Legislature Online, SB 354, Relating to the carrying of concealed handguns on the campuses of institutions of higher education, filed Jan. 13, 2011, accessed Feb. 23, 2011

U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Census data: Texas, accessed Feb. 23, 2011

U.S. Census Bureau, State & County QuickFacts: Florida, accessed Feb. 24, 2011

National Rifle Association, Right-to-Carry 2010, posted April 22, 2010, accessed Feb. 24, 2011

Interview with Nicole Albers, administrative assistant for state Sen. Jeff Wentworth, Feb. 22, 2011

E-mail interview with Tom Vinger, public information officer, Texas Department of Safety, Feb. 22, 2011

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Jeff Wentworth says few Texans are licensed for concealed handguns

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