Important change in Texas CHL Law, section 411.171

Section 411.171 of the Texas Concealed Handgun Laws was amended in the 2009 session of the legislature, which brought up a question from a potential student with a sealed juvenile record. You can view the marked-up copy of the statutes (*) posted on the DPS website, but it is not searchable, because it is basically a photocopy converted to PDF. You can’t even copy and paste from the document.

The change is in 411.171(4)(C), on the 8th page of the PDF document (numbered page 3 in the text), which now reads “[‘Convicted’ does not include any adjudication of guilt] otherwise vacated, set aside, annulled, invalidated, voided, or sealed under any state or federal law.” Up until last September, a “sealed” conviction was not really “sealed” to the DPS.

The provision in 411.172(14), which was 411.172(13)┬áin the previous revision, still states that a juvenile (“delinquent conduct”) felony-grade offense disqualifies a CHL applicant for 10 years. This seemed to me to be contradictory. This change in the law was not covered in the CHL Instructor renewal course that I attended in August of last year, so I sent an email to the DPS Legal section to inquire about this seeming contradiction. The answer I got from them is that if the juvenile conviction has been officially sealed, it does not count as a conviction under the new change of the law, so the change in 411.171 overrides 411.172(14). Since juvenile records are normally sealed, it appears to me that means 411.172(14) no longer has any real effect.

According to the DPS Legal section, if you have a juvenile conviction of any type, you still have to report the arrest on your application, but if it was sealed, you can submit a certified copy of the order that sealed the conviction, and it will not be considered as a conviction.

(*) Edit May 27, 2012: The DPS has removed the marked-up statutes from its website — or maybe just moved them to some other location. Any rate, as far as I can tell, they are gone.

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