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by chuck-texas
Tue Oct 14, 2014 10:25 pm
Forum: CHL Checklist
Topic: How to Get A CHL For Non-Immigrant Aliens & Foreigners
Replies: 34
Views: 65018

Re: How to Get A CHL For Non-Immigrant Aliens & Foreigners

n5wd wrote:Merhaba, arkadaşı Chuck!

You provided a very good explanation of how a non-resident Alien can get their Concealed Handgun License... information that is occasionally asked for, here, and that will become a very good reference for others, I believe.

One clarification about the law of selling guns in a private sale. Under federal (US) law, you must not sell a gun to someone that is not legally eligible to own or possess a firearm. That includes anyone who has been found guilty of a felony, or someone that has been arrested for, or has been found guilty of domestic violence, and, for a handgun, someone who is not a resident of the state that you are living in.

Because of the potential problems, I've noticed that many folks here on the forum advertise that they will sell only to other people of possess a CHL. I'm not in that crowd, but I do ask the purchaser specifically if they are legally permitted to posses a handgun.

Because of that, you may find that some people hesitate to sell a firearm to a non-resident Alien. It's not anything prejudicial, but just that most people may not be aware that a non-resident Alien can legally possess and purchase a firearm.

Anyway - glad to see someone from Turkey here on the forum. My wife and I lived in Adana for a couple of years in the early 70's - I was stationed at Incirlik with the US Air Force, there. We lived off base in downtown Adana, in one of their "skyscraper" apartment buildings. Great TV reception from Beruit, Damascus, Tel Aviv, and Nicosia when you're living on the 15th floor of a 20 story apartment building, facing the Mediterranean (on a good day, we could almost see the Med, and during the 1973 Israeli war we all gathered on top of the apartment building to watch as the Israeli's bombed Latakia harbour... could see the flashes from the explosions vaugely on the horizon).

Anyway - very fond memories of the area around Adana, and of the friends we made. The family next door was very protective of my wife, and she always knew that they were just a knock on the door away should she need anything while I was working on base.

Enjoy the forum!

Wayne

Hahah çok teşekkürler Wayne, merhaba!

I added a small edit to that part so people would now when they first read it about the sales to non-CHL people. :)

I'm glad you had nice experiences in Turkey. If you are not permanent or got stuck in Turkey for some reason, it is one of the most beautiful places that you can be as a tourist or a visitor. But that's another discussion, of course. :)

I am glad to be here too, I have a lot to learn.

Thanks.


Box wrote:Great thread, something to show people instead of my lil disorganized thread.

:cheers2:
Thanks, I am glad it is more organized. :) Hope it'll help others who are in my position.

:cheers2:

Keith B wrote::iagree: Thanks Chuck for putting this primer in the forum. I am actually going to see about getting this topic as sticky so that it is available at the top of the section. :thumbs2:
Sure thing, I am glad that I can be useful for the forum. Hope it'll help others. :)

:tiphat:
by chuck-texas
Mon Oct 13, 2014 8:15 pm
Forum: CHL Checklist
Topic: How to Get A CHL For Non-Immigrant Aliens & Foreigners
Replies: 34
Views: 65018

How to Get A CHL For Non-Immigrant Aliens & Foreigners

Hello all,

My name is Chuck and I am here in the USA for a long graduate study. I am from Turkey and since I live in Texas and I have been looking for a novel hobby/interest for myself, I said "What the heck, I will get learn how to shoot and carry a gun." However, although actually it is a very straight-forward process, since a very, very few people try to get a CHL being a "non-immigrant alien" (like me), almost no-one is sure and/or feel secure about giving information. So it might get a little confusing. That is why, I wanted to start this topic. Maybe some future foreigners that will try to get a CHL find this useful.


Short Answer as of October 2014:

First of all, I want to mention that this short answer is valid for both purchasing a gun and getting a CHL. However, I will explain it for CHL, you can apply the same reasoning to buy a gun:

If you hold an F1 visa like I do (I think -but not 100% sure- that all non-immigrant alien visas are treated the same; here is a full list of those visas: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/e ... ories.html) and have been in Texas for more than 3 months (so that you can have a state ID or a Driver's License), you just go to any store that sells a Hunter's License and get one (buy the one that is good for 1 year, called "General License"). Then, the process is basically the same with everybody else. The only difference is, when you supply documents to DPS website, you add 3 more items on top of the regular ones that everybody uploads:
  • a scanned image of your visa page in your passport
  • a scanned image of your I-94 (a blue sheet that you get when you arrive to the US)
  • a scanned image of your Hunter's License
That is all. Then you wait. You better have an Social Securty Number (SSN) too. It speeds up the application process (I think you cannot apply online if you do not have SSN and that is why it takes longer, you have to mail everything to Austin). But you will have an SSN if you live in Texas for 3 months anyways, given that you are here to study and/or work. So, I applied as I said and got my license in just 7 business days after I sent everything, even faster than most residents lol. After that point, there is absolutely no difference between you and anybody else, in terms of laws, regulations, rules, practices, etc. You have to obey all of the laws just like anybody (of course).

But never forget the responsibilities of carrying a gun and having a CHL. It is not for fun, it is definitely not a toy and there is an underlying reason behind why we are getting this license. If you do not like the USA, if you do not care about responsibilities, or if you have issues with Americans or something, I strongly recommend you not get involved in this. I did it for my own reasons, mainly because I respect the USA, I feel like a resident of this country (and hopefully will be in the future) and I understand the commitment of the citizens of the USA to their values and founding principles. This paragraph is just a friendly opinion for "aliens" who are planning to get a CHL and a gun. You might find more info below (also about how to purchase a gun).

Also, you learn some of the things after you suffer (although I did a very thorough search on this topic, I missed the most crucial thing and that is why it was a pain to get together all this information by myself). Of course, there was a "hidden" information about all these, in DPS website. It was not possible for me to find it before I go through everything I explained in a bit more detail below. Since you do everything online and don't need any printed forms, I never thought of looking at the "forms" section in DPS website. Let me put the document here so others can find it easier: http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/InternetFo ... CHL-40.pdf



Longer Answer:

My reasoning behind getting a gun was mostly self-protection since I live alone and my neighborhood is not the best I've seen. Then it evolved into a "why not?" kind of thing. I am in Texas, purchasing guns is illegal in Turkey, why not experience this? Now it's further evolving into a hobby/interest. I am openly saying that I am still neutral towards gun ownership. I would not encourage anyone to get a gun, nor I would tell it is a stupid idea to own a gun and try to talk them out of it. I simply do not care, as long as responsible people own it. My ideas might change towards one side or another in the future, but right now I am a CHL holder and I am trying to be a very responsible gun owner.


Buying a Gun With or Without CHL if you are Non-Immigrant Alien (NIA)

Anyways, after I developed an interest to owning a gun, I started researching on how to get a gun (obviously). First of all, you do not need a CHL to own a gun. You can purchase a gun and keep it at your home (as well as in your car if necessary) without a CHL. At least that's what I learned, correct me if I'm wrong. CHL grants you the right to carry it with you, to places other than your rental/own home and your rental/own car, like a restaurant, park, movie theater etc. To purchase a gun, I first went to a local, smaller store in my town but they told me that they have never sold a gun to an non-immigrant alien (NIA). So the store owner called his lawyer to make sure. The lawyer said he could sell, but he personally would not recommend selling me one, just to be on the safe side. He recommended him to direct me to a larger store. So I went to Cabela's Outpost in my town and explained who I am and asked them if I can buy a gun. They were like "Sure, we did that before many times, no problems at all."

So, first off, you need to get a Hunter's License. To get a Hunter's License, you need to have a State ID or Driver's License. To get that, you need to have lived in Texas for at least 60 days. To prove that, you need to have 2 supporting documents (for example if you financed a car, you can show the lease agreement and your insurance as proof, you can get more information here:http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/DriverLice ... NonCDL.htm). Anyways, if you follow this ladder and get a Driver's License (or ID), you are eligible to buy a Hunter's License automatically (nothing else is asked). Why do we need a Hunter's License? Because the law says so:
Q3. May a nonimmigrant alien who has been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant alien visa purchase or possess a firearm in the U.S.?

A3. An alien admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa is not prohibited from purchasing, receiving, or possessing a firearm if the alien falls within one of the following exceptions: (1) is in possession of a hunting license or permit lawfully issued by the Federal Government, a State, or local government, or an Indian tribe federally recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which is valid and unexpired; (2) was admitted to the United States for lawful hunting or sporting purposes; (3) has received a waiver from the prohibition from the Attorney General of the United States; (4) is an official representative of a foreign government who is accredited to the United States Government or the Government’s mission to an international organization having its headquarters in the United States; (5) is en route to or from another country to which that alien is accredited; (6) is an official of a foreign government or a distinguished foreign visitor who has been so designated by the Department of State; or (7) is a foreign law enforcement officer of a friendly foreign government entering the United States on official law enforcement business.
(Emphasis added by me, taken from here: http://www.atf.gov/files/firearms/faq/n ... iens-2.pdf)


This is nice "trick" in the law. Since you cannot get a Hunter's License, if you do not have a State ID (or Driver's License), and since it is very difficult to prove you stayed or will stay long enough to be considered a "resident of Texas" without long-term commitments (like leases, rents, loans, credit cards, etc.), getting a Hunter's License almost automatically proves that you have stayed and also have an intention to stay in Texas for a long (or at least reasonable amount of) time.

Anyways, once you have a 1 Year Long Hunter's License (it is a 2 minute process to get one), you go to your favourite gun shop (preferrably a bigger one) and say "I want to buy a gun". You pick your gun, then they walk you through a step of forms (that you fill on their computers at check-outs). Here, you will need your extra forms I mentioned in the short answer (I-94, visa, and Hunter's License). They'll put those information on the computer. Then, you have to wait at most 3 business days. They do a background check on you and let the store know if you are eligible to purchase a gun. For me, it took just 1 day to reply. The store called me and said "You are good to go, come pick up your gun." Only after then you make a payment and recieve your gun (they'll hold it for you, so no worries). The law has an interesting part here too: if it takes longer than 3 business days to reply (whoever's doing the background check in government, FBI I suppose), the store is automatically allowed to sell you the gun. No problems, go ahead and get your gun if it takes longer than 3 business days. I'm sure they would call you back or contact you if something went wrong afterwards. But if you know you are clean, you are most likely clean. So that's neat.

I learned after this process that there are simpler ways to buy a gun. Like through Facebook! :) Or forums like this. The reason I had to go through all those processes was that Cabela's is a big store and they have to keep track of their sales, etc. It is not even about registering the gun or something, since there is no registration law for guns in Texas. Therefore, you can buy a gun from an online seller basically. No abovementioned processes. Well, it will not be a brand new gun but that's up to you. A person cannot buy a brand new gun for you from say Cabela's, that is illegal (I am not sure about this part, but I am remembering something about this coming up in that application process). But if you buy a gun from a person, noone cares. You do not need to notify authorities or anything. (Edit after comments below: although it is not illegal, people might not want to sell a gun to a non-immigrant alien, so you might need a person who is willing to do so).

So the morale/summary of this part: if you are living in Texas, you can go ahead and can buy a gun from a person. You absolutely need nothing for that. But if you want a new gun and make things more official (so that you can prove you were not after any illegal activity if you have any troubles after purchasing it), you go through a process which is not that annoying after all, given that you have a clean record.

Oh, my first gun is a Smith and Wesson (S&W) SD9 VE. I am not super happy about it (because it is a Self-Defence type of gun and have a very long trigger), but once you get used to it, it is very nice. Also, it was the cheapest yet good-looking one. I would recommend it if you are a rookie (like I was/am). My second gun will probably be chosen more professionally (open to ideas).



Getting a CHL if you are Non-Immigrant Alien (NIA)

Short answer provides pretty much everything actually. After purchasing my gun, I said to myself: "What is the purpose of a gun if I cannot carry it around?" Because even if you can carry it in your car, you have to be extra extra careful since you do not even have a CHL. First, I asked around if I can get a CHL, being an NIA. I got very mixed answers, but most of the people thought "Yeah, probably, why not?" But that was not enough for me, since it is illegal to buy a gun in Turkey and I felt like criminal, even asking these questions (also you know, I am from Turkey; although it is more of a European country, since most people do not know what it is exactly, it is still considered a Middle Eastern country; we know how USA gets along with Middle Eastern countries lol, however I had no issues about my country, I have to tell that). Therefore I went to the office of Department of Justice in my town. They pulled up some laws and regulations and made sure that I can have one, if I have a Hunter's License. I got a Hunter's License pretty easily, as explained before.

Then I went ahead and signed-up for a CHL class. The instructor (Mike) helped me a lot and he directed me to State of Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) customer service phone. I called them and ultimately confirmed that I can get a CHL if I provide the extra documents I mentioned above (I-94, visa, and Hunter's License). The rest was easy. I applied online, got my CHL-100 by attending Mike's class and passing the range test. I just scanned those extra documents and uploaded them here: http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/rsd/contact/chl.aspx If you need to upload things in 2 separate groups and even in different times, it is fine. They match your records through your Driver's License or ID Number.

And voilà! Absolutely no problems! In just 7 business days, I got my CHL (with my terrible picture on it, make sure you are looking good when you apply to your Driver's License). Other than these extra documents, noone treats you differently (maybe citizens of some "risky" countries might have some problems, I had none).

Also, you learn some of the things after you suffer (although I did a very thorough search on this topic, I missed the most crucial thing and that is why it was a pain to get together all this information by myself). Of course, there was a "hidden" information about all these, in DPS website. It was not possible for me to find it before I go through everything I explained in a bit more detail below. Since you do everything online and don't need any printed forms, I never thought of looking at the "forms" section in DPS website. Let me put the document here so others can find it easier: http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/InternetFo ... CHL-40.pdf

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Please ask me any questions that you might have about this process.

Hope this helps. Sorry if I made any mistakes about the information I gave or errors (especially about language/grammar, etc).

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