A state Senate bill allowing students, faculty and staff to carry concealed handguns on public college campuses was filed Monday with 19 senators as joint authors.
Current law allows those who hold a concealed handgun license to carry their weapons on campus grounds but not inside buildings, and attempts in previous legislative sessions have fallen short under fierce opposition from police chiefs and other law officers, university officials, teachers, parents and students.
Still, support from 19 of 20 Republican senators — only Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, was not listed as a joint author of Senate Bill 11 — was a display of strength for legislation that is a priority for many gun-rights advocates.
An identical bill also was filed Monday in the House by Rep. Allen Fletcher, R-Cypress, with four Republican joint authors.
Called the Campus Personal Protection Act, the bills would ban public colleges or universities from trying to “circumvent” campus carry by imposing administrative rules or penalties for legally carrying a concealed weapon.
However, the bill allows affected schools to post notices that concealed firearms are not allowed at athletic events and sporting venues. In addition, state laws would remain in force that prohibit firearms in bars, hospitals and school district facilities located on campus.
Independent and private universities could still ban concealed weapons under the proposed legislation.
SB 11 and House Bill 937 also would give schools immunity from liability for the actions of concealed permit holders on campus, except for private or independent schools that prohibit weapons.
“No one should be forced to surrender their God-given, constitutional right to self-defense just because they set foot on a college campus,” said Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown. “This bill is simply about ensuring that licensed, responsible and law-abiding adults have the right to protect themselves on the campuses of public colleges and universities.”
Opponents of campus carry have been preparing to renew their battle at the Capitol as well.
I say, bring it on.
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