http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/4503603. Jan. 27, 2007, 12:14AM Nearly 260,000 have license to carry weapon By MELANIE MARKLEY Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle <!-- rbox goes here -->TOOLS <TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=260 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD height=20>Email </TD><TD height=20>Get section feed </TD></TR><TR><TD height=22>Print </TD><TD>Subscribe NOW </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE> <!-- end toolbox --><!-- Airport Code (Kayak) --><!-- end Airport Code (Kayak) --><!-- begin rboxes -->RESOURCES <!-- cannot put padding/margin around base _ this case rbox. padding/margin control is in outer edge of tree _ not base _ this breaks the structure _ see Tim with questions -->Legally armed Numbers growing <!-- end rboxes --><!-- <TM PL_VAR NAME="f.component.6"> --> <!-- rbox ends here -->Nearly 260,000 Texans have a license to carry a concealed handgun, according to revised figures released this week by the Department of Public Safety. At the end of last year, 258,162 people had permits, up about 4 percent from the year before and more than double the number in 1996, when Texas law first allowed people to carry concealed weapons. DPS had earlier told the Houston Chronicle that 72,345 Texans had concealed handgun permits last year. That incorrect figure appeared in a story published on Dec. 24, 2006. But DPS spokeswoman Tela Mange said that because of a computer programming error, the agency had counted only the number of new and renewed permits instead of the total number of license holders for 2006. Senior citizens and middle-agers are among the most likely to take advantage of the concealed handgun law. Although those 55 and older represent just 28 percent of the state's population over the age of 21, they carry 46 percent of the permits. And one-third of the permit holders are 60 and older. "I just turned 60, and I'm one of those guys," said Jerry Patterson, the former legislator who authored the concealed weapons law before he became Texas land commissioner. When the law first passed in 1995, Patterson said he estimated that 2 percent to 3 percent of adult Texans would get permits to carry weapons. According to last year's revised figures, 1.7 percent of Texans 21 and older had a concealed handgun permit. Patterson said he believes older Texans are more likely to have the permits because they have more time and resources to get them. And it's not just new retirees getting the permits. Last year, 114 people who were 90 and older had licenses to carry weapons. The oldest was 101. To apply for a permit, Texans must be at least 21, although 18-year-olds who are either active members of the U.S. armed forces or honorably discharged veterans also qualify. Many people can't get a permit. Under the law, those convicted of felonies or certain misdemeanors are excluded. So are people who are chemically dependent, or are delinquent in paying taxes or child support. After passing a criminal background check, applicants must take a 10-hour course to learn about handgun safety and demonstrate proficiency shooting at a target.