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Older Texans Lead In Gun Permit Applications

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(credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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FORT WORTH (AP) - Respect your elders — because in Texas, they’re the most likely to be armed.

Residents in their 50s and 60s seek more concealed handgun licenses than any other age group in Texas, and at a pace that’s nearly double that of the youngest age group who can legally carry a gun in public, according to an analysis of state records by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

No age group the past five years in Texas sought more concealed handgun licenses than those 50 or older, the newspaper reported Monday.

Last year, 57-year-olds topped all ages, with more than 3,600 of them seeking a license.

“That group of people is the most aware and alert,” said Charles Johnson, a Houston attorney and board member of the Houston Police Foundation. “They watch the news the most. They follow changes in the law, news on a national and state level — and they see any increase in crime.”

The newspaper compiled the data from the Texas Department of Public Safety. There are more than 580,000 active concealed handgun license holders statewide, and about a quarter of those were issued last year.

The oldest Texans are also looking to arm themselves. State records shows that at least 16 people in their 90s applied for licenses last year, including at least one 95-year-old.

Texas law requires residents to be at least 21 to get a concealed handgun license, which is good for four years initially and then for five years after. A license typically costs $140 and renewals cost $70.

Among 21-year-olds, nearly 2,000 sought a license last year. About 1,600 license-seekers were 23.

By contrast, nearly 3,600 people age 64 sought a license in 2012. The ages of 53, 54 and 55 combined to seek more nearly 10,700 licenses.

Older Texans also may lead the way because of the cost of training and the license, as well as the cost of ammunition, fingerprints and other supplies needed, said Bob Wieland, a concealed handgun license instructor in Plano.

“Older citizens have more life experience and may be more likely to have been a crime victim or know somebody who has,” Wieland told the newspaper. “Younger people tend to think they are indestructible.”

Earlier this year, lawmakers passed several measures geared to give Texas gun owners more freedom. The news laws shrunk the required training time for those seeking concealed handgun licenses and let Texans renew their permits online without taking a renewal class.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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