How does a Texan get a license to carry from Florida with minimal gun handling?

HOUSTON – Thousands of Texans are skipping certified Texas license-to-carry courses in favor of cheaper, less stringent but legal instruction that does not require live-round shooting.

Channel 2 Investigates first discovered the loophole in Texas law in 2016. Three years later, the practice is still going on.

Texas License-to-Carry courses require applicants to demonstrate proficiency in gun-handling and shooting.

Students are not supposed to graduate these courses without shooting 50 live rounds, showing an ability to hit the target.

Florida has no such shooting requirement.

Florida also allows Texans and other U.S. residents to apply for a Florida LTC, and neither Florida nor Texas puts a restriction on where the course can be taught.

Through a reciprocity agreement, enacted in 2000 and renewed annually, the State of Texas honors the Florida license. (see attachment)

The net effect is Texas residents can legally qualify for a license to carry at less expense than they otherwise would.

Russel Medley Sr., a Texas resident licensed by the Department of Public Safety to teach LTC courses, teaches the Florida course.

“I teach the Texas course for the Florida license,” Medley said.

In 2016, Medley taught his crowded course in a busy buffet restaurant north of Houston, with law enforcement on hand.

Now, Medley teaches the same course inside a small building on the outskirts of Dayton, Texas. The class we attended only consisted of 10 students.

One Dayton police captain was on hand to administer FBI background check fingerprinting, which was conducted without applicants ever showing identification.

The shooting portion of the class consisted of firing a handgun loaded with blanks into a small wooden box.

During the four-hour course, we handled a gun for less than 20 seconds.

“I give them safe handling instructions and must as their instructor see them demonstrate that safe handling in the discharge of a weapon,” Medley said.

After our 2016 investigation, Texas State Sen. John Whitmire stated that he believed only DPS-certified Texas LTC courses should be taught in Texas.

“Texans should take the Texas course,” Whitmire said.

Whitmire told us then he would discuss the issue with his legislative colleagues. Three years later, with the exact same loophole in effect, we asked about it.

“When we did this story back in 2016 you said you were going to work on this issue,” Channel 2 Investigator Joel Eisenbaum said.

“And I did work on it and I haven’t given up,” Whitmire said.

Whitmire said he could not then, and cannot now, muster support to close the loophole.

“If I could pass it, I would. With the stakeholders, it’s a nonstarter,” Whitmire said.