Texas Senate approves bill to allow guns on college campuses

AUSTIN, Tex. Mon May 9, 2011 8:20pm EDT

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AUSTIN, Tex. (Reuters) - The Texas Senate on Monday passed a measure that would make the Lone Star State the second after Utah to specifically allow guns on college campuses.

The proposal, which would allow concealed handgun license holders to carry guns into buildings at public colleges, now heads to the Texas House, where it has broad support.

The Senate author, Republican Jeff Wentworth of San Antonio, said that his proposal would make college campuses safer.

"My goal this whole time is to put doubt in the mind of the shooter that, 'Well, maybe I shouldn't go on that campus and try to take a bunch of kids out,'" Wentworth said after the measure passed.

But Democrat Judith Zaffirini of Laredo, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Higher Education, said the proposal is dangerous.

"I think there will be increased violence and unnecessary tragedies because of this bill," Zaffirini told Reuters.

University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa told Governor Rick Perry in a letter this year that the presence of concealed weapons "will make a campus a less safe environment."

The legacy of the 1966 University of Texas shooting -- when Charles Whitman climbed to the top of the UT Tower and fatally shot 13 people and an unborn child -- still looms over the Austin campus.

Wentworth tacked the measure onto a budget-related education bill on Monday after he was unable earlier in the session to get enough support to bring the measure up as a stand-alone bill.

Texas was one of 22 states that banned carrying concealed weapons on college campuses as of late March, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Arizona's Republican governor, Jan Brewer, last month vetoed a bill that would have allowed guns on college campuses.

That's unlikely to happen in Texas, where Perry, also a Republican, believes people with concealed handgun licenses and proper training should be able to carry their weapon with them anywhere in the state, his spokeswoman has said.

The Texas Senate on Monday also passed a measure that would allow state lawmakers to carry concealed handguns into places where such weapons are not now allowed, such as churches and hospitals. That proposal now goes to the House.

(Editing by Jerry Norton)

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Comments (9)
Robert76 wrote:
Once again Texas government proves just how far out of reality they operate. With all the important issues Texas needs to deal with, they push sonograms for abortions, higher (more dangerous) highway speeds, and guns on campus?

Just imagine for one minute that we have a shooting on campus and a bunch of nervous kids pull guns and start shooting. That should multiply the casualty rate by quite a bit.

Just goes to prove that Texas is a whole nother country.

May 09, 2011 9:12pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
James4077 wrote:
Robert76 is obviously very, very uneducated when it comes to Texas Concealed Carry laws.

Your lack of understanding of the laws cloud your judgement into making an emotional decision without understanding any of the facts.

Lets look at the facts; You MUST be at a minimum 21 years old, so we are Eliminating traditional freshman and sophomores with a decent portion of the junior class as well. The argument about “nervous kids” is effectively a non issue.

Oh and by the way I ran the numbers out of the entire population of Texas only .018% have a carry conceal license.

Read up Robert76 before you make ignorant remarks about stuff you obviously know nothing about.

May 09, 2011 9:59pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
TX_nerd wrote:
There is no such thing as a “gun free zone” despite what universities tell us. There are only areas where law abiding citizens are restricted from being armed; criminals will bring guns on campus law or no law.

Many crimes are committed on college campuses, violent crimes like rape and assault. This is particularly disturbing if you live on campus. Allowing CHL holders to carry on campus just gives students a chance to defend themselves.

May 09, 2011 10:22pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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