Railroad Commission to offer concealed handgun classes

Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman said Wednesday he will make classes for concealed handgun licenses available for any interested commission employees.

“In light of recent shooting tragedies around the country, I want to ensure that our employees have an opportunity to learn how to protect themselves if faced with similar situations,” Smitherman said.

The Texas Railroad Commission is a three-person panel that regulates the state’s oil and natural gas industry.

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Smitherman led an effort in 2011 to change commission policy to allow employees to legally carry a concealed handgun on commission property.

He said he was working with the National Rifle Association to implement training courses.

Beginning in 2011, people with a concealed handgun permit were allowed to bypass the time-consuming metal detectors and searches installed at the Texas Capitol, prompting many lobbyists and journalists, among others, to take the classes in order to be able to quickly gain access to the building.

People now can gain expedited entry by paying a $100 fee, without applying for a concealed handgun permit.