RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas – Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, there has been an increase in first-time gun buyers.
With stay at home orders in place, many went online to get their licenses.
Roy Balli, owner and firearms instructor of RGV-LTC, has been in business for more than a dozen years.
Balli said when the COVID-19 outbreak started many went out to buy guns.
“I was told by the local gun store owners that percentages were double, triple, quadruple of the first-time gun buyers,” said Balli
The increase in first-time buyers meant more people wanted to get their licenses, and the only way to get them during the pandemic was online.
“So, during the time of the pandemic people were going to the local gun stores to purchase a firearm. One of the questions they ask them is if they have a license to carry, and a lot of people did not know what that was,” said Balli
While a license to carry is not required to buy a gun, it does help with the approval process.
Typically, you must wait three days for a background check before you can take the gun you purchased home.
During the pandemic Balli said that the waiting period went up to as much as six weeks.
If you have a license to carry you get instant approval to take the gun you buy the same day.
Licenses can be obtained by taking a 4-5 hour course online, which you can take at your own pace.
Balli said after the course you still must pass a proficiency test at a gun range, register online with the state, and submit finger prints.
The state will then take up to 60 business days to mail your license.
“A lot of them just want to get educated. A lot of them want to be updated with the laws, because the laws change every two years. Their updated every two years and a lot of times there are refresher courses available for that as well, people want to be responsible gun owners,” said Balli
If you would like more information about online classes, click here.