The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports this week that in 2012, a total of 1,979 21-year-olds sought a CHL, as did 1,713 22-year-olds and 1,583 23-year-olds. But 57-year-olds led the way last year by a wide margin, with a total 3,609 applying for the state permit.
The 57-year-olds were closely followed by 64-year-olds with 3,588, 53-year-olds with 3,576, 54-year-olds with 3,562 and 55-year-olds with 3,542, the DPS analysis indicates.
The minimum age at which one may apply for a CHL in the Lone Star State is 21.
In the four years prior to 2012, Texans aged 63, 52, 61 and 60, respectively, led the way in number of concealed handgun permits, according to a Star-Telegram analysis of the DPS data that shows the number of CHL issued each fiscal year.
Bob Wieland, a concealed handgun license instructor from Plano, told the paper it's no surprise to him that mature Texans with more life experiences would be drawn to taking a CHL safety course and obtaining a license to carry a handgun for personal protection.
"Older citizens have more life experience and may be more likely to have been a crime victim or know somebody who has," said Wieland, who has taught CHL classes since 1996. "Younger people tend to think they are indestructible."
A Texas CHL is valid for four years initially, and then for five years after each renewal.
In 1996, the first year of the Texas Concealed Handgun Licensing Program, a total of 114,017 permits were issued. The numbers fluctuated between 48,000 and 88,000 for the next 12 years.
Then, in 2008 a total of 73,090 were issued—and the numbers have increased enormously since, with 115,187 in 2009, 123,325 in 2010, 134,901 in 2011, and 149,105 in 2012.
Last year, five 91-year-olds, six 92-year-olds and five Texans aged 93, 94 or 95 were among those applying for license to carry a concealed handgun, DPS data shows.