A couple of nights before, it occurred to me to look at all the cards in my wallet to see if I need to renew any of them: driver's license, credit cards, library card, Costco card, and ... Concealed Handgun License (CHL).
Oh dear! My CHL expired in November of last year!
This only goes to show how much importance I put on it. I monitor my credit cards and their associated accounts constantly, but when is the last time I looked closely at my CHL?
A little background is required: I originally applied for it because I frequently carry firearms in my car. Without a CHL, I'm not sure what my legal obligations are. If I casually toss my range-bag in the back seat of the car, it's conceivably within reach. And there's always ammo in the bag, if not loaded in either the magazines or the gun itself. Am I violating a law? I don't know, from one year to the next.
So I applied for, and eventually received, a CHL. No more worries. Even a gun in my car fall (under certain circumstances) as a "Concealed Handgun", I'm covered. I actually renewed the five-year license before it expired last time, but I fear I have become complacent since then.
Now that my CHL has expired I find that renewal falls within an entirely new set of regulations. Here are the five-step list of regulations which I must satisfy before I can renew my license:
- Fee: $50. (exact change, or a check for the exact amount)
- APPLICATION FORM. Must be completely filled out, legible and signed. IMPORTANT NOTE: If your license has been expired for less than 2 years, you will also need to have two character
references complete and sign the “Handgun License Required References” form. If your license
has been expired for more than 2 years, you cannot renew, but will need to re-apply for an original
- NEW REQUIREMENT EFFECTIVE MARCH 1, 2011: PROOF OF CITIZENSHIP. Birth certificate, passport or appropriate INS forms.
- PICTURE. A picture of you will be taken when you turn in your completed application.
(On the other hand, I do agree that the criteria for a concealed handgun license should be different from/more stringent than that of getting a drivers license because a drivers license is a right, and toting a gun is only supported by the constitu ..... oh. Never mind. Maybe it's because more people are killed and maimed every year by cars than by ... uh ......)
The only real problem I have is with the need to have Character References. I hate to go around begging for friends to sign a form saying that I'm sane enough to carry a handgun. It's demeaning! If I recall correctly, the original license application was supported by my landlord and the President of the local gun club. They didn't need to provide any documentation about THEIR citizenship, thank goodness!)
I really should have addressed this months ago, but I didn't, and I accept my own responsibility for being too complacent. In the mean time, I can't apply for my renewal until next week, so I have a few days to dig my Birth Certificate Registered Copy out of my files, and print the application forms and all. (Small personal problem, my printer doesn't work; I'll depend on my friends to help me out.)
What this, is ... once again, my life mission seems to be to serve as a bad example for the edification of friends and family. If I had renewed 3 months ago, the process would have been much simpler.