Alan asked me if I wouldn't mind making a quick article about my CHL process experience. We'll sure! No problem As Texans, we're all in the same boat and dealing with the same system, Texas DPS CHL Licensing. Due in large part to the incoming Obama administration there has been a big surge in CHL applications starting around late summer '08. Although this surge was acknowledged by DPS and some changes were made to try to accommodate the larger load, those changes were not enough. As applications increased, so did the backlog. Application processing times soared from 60 days to well over 100. Unfortunately my husband and I could not get in for class before February 2009. We were stationed in Japan until February 2009. I took my class February 15, 2009, only 10 days after landing in the States. I mailed my packet two days later on the 17th. When you send your packet to DPS it takes them about 30 days from when they receive the packet to officially stamp your packet as "Processing Application". This is when non-online applicants receive their PIN number letter and online applicants PIN gets them to the "Processing Application" screen. I received my PIN letter dated March 18th Next is the background check. Remember that you filled out two finger print cards? That's where they go. This is the step where your entire application, from the passport photos to address history to prints are scrutinized. If they are good, your app continues. If not, your app comes to a grinding halt and you are sent a letter addressing the problem. I was sent an "Indiscernible Fingerprints Letter" in March. Your app now gets stacked in a waiting pile until you return the information they need to continue processing your application. I was told by a DPS customer service rep that your application does in fact become delayed by at the very least the time it took you to turn around the information. So if it took you three weeks to get your prints turned around add an additional three weeks to the time line. It was here that the "local background check" got the bad name. It seems that some counties were performing much slower than other counties. More than likely you've heard that coastal counties were way behind, like Harris and Brazoria. This was "due to hurricanes". My application was Nueces Co. My fingerprint letter was dated March 28th. By this time we were no longer in Nueces Co, but way up north in temporary living (read: crummy hotel) in Lewisville. I did my fingerprint redo @ Lewisville PD (+ $10 and postage) and returned my packet via signature confirmation to DPS signed on April 9th. Needless to say, the background check is the bane of the process, even more so than it reasonably should be. Texas not only checks an applicant's criminal background, but also financial responsibilities and debts. (New legislation has adjusted some specifics on this, check new regs for Sept 2009). Now remember, this process takes time and Texas has statutes so that applicants can be made very aware of what to expect. And that's how it should be, set the rules, stick to them. The trouble is, DPS was breaking their own rules. After the 90 day mark applicants are to be notified one way or another why they are at a certain stage in the application process via letter. DPS was not notifying applicants. I got fairly fed up with the lack of accountability. I was growing more disgruntled by the day. After three inquiries with DPS I still received the same excuse: waiting on the background check. Well, is it me or not? My classmates who I took the CHL class with had all received their permits long before. And considering I have an active Washington state permit, what is the big mystery? I decided enough was enough and I'm going to do something about it. I logged into the Texas CHL forum where the Admin there is a gentleman named Charles L. Cotten. He is a lawyer who as I understand it was instrumental in leading Texas to a CHL program. After reading some threads I discovered there was a legal leg to stand on and in fact Mr Cotten was actively building up his test cases. I contacted him and told him I was interested in participating and gave him my app processing timeline. He replied and I was set. Armed with this information I sent a letter to Senator Jane Nelson, Representative Vicki Truitt and Governor Perry. I received word back from Senator Nelson and Gov. Perry regarding my letter. Representative Truitt seems useless as this was not the first time I contacted my representatives' offices. By this time I did update my voter's registration information & change of address/DPS vehicle registration on June 6th. As a new Tarrant Co resident I'm looking forward to exercising my voting rights. My letter dated July 18, 2009: With this letter I received two responses within the week, one from Gov Perry's office, one from Senator Nelson's office. DeDe Keith from Gov Perry's office said she'd pass my information to the then DPS director Col. Beckworth in order to look into it. Nicole Mattous from Senator Nelson's office emailed me on July 21st asking to call her because she needed a few more details. So I called and we chatted. She stated Sen. Nelson was surprised that it has taken this long and would inquire wih DPS on my behalf. I really appreciate that and told her so. On July 30th I recieved a phone call from a representative at DPS. She stated she wanted to confirm my mailing address that my CHL permit would be arriving in 10-14 days. The final nail in the coffin that said I could officially be mad at DPS was that they still had my old Nueces Co address on file. Even after two written notices to DPS CHL and one phone call...I was on the phone with a CHL rep in JUNE and asked her if my address was ___. She said "No, let me change that right now". So she "changed" it. If it was changed in June then why is it still incorrect on July 30th? I began to wonder if the 10-14 day delivery time was going to pan out, but I waited to see. Well, it did come as promised. Finally on Aug. 7th I was holding my CHL plastic in hand, set to expire 4 years and 5 days from then. All in all, I'm satisfied I have the plastic in hand. I am severely rashed about the process. There is no reason it needs to be as expensive or as lengthy as it is. I have never been disappointed in Texas, much less DPS. I love Troopers. But the ways things are running in DPS CHL division I'm sorely disappointed. DMV is a close second. DMV use to be first but after this experience, CHL Application Processing has topped it. I did close the issue with Senator Nelson's office and Ms Mattous and left her with this: This was her reply: When you go to your representative be sure to express not only your desire to get your CHL done in a timely fashion, but that you would like to see them address the issue of overhauling the process as a whole so that this does not continue to happen. It will not change unless we as citizens stay on them to change it. There are a lot of folks in Austin who would like to see CHL go away, period. Don't let them forget that there are others like us who want CHL and we want it run efficiently.