Friday, April 10, 2009
Campus guns bill gaining support in Texas House
By: DAVID SALEH RAUF AUSTIN BUREAU
AUSTIN — Legislation allowing state university students and employees to carry their concealed handguns on campus appears to have enough pledged support from lawmakers to pass the full Texas House.
The bill would prohibit public universities across Texas from creating rules that forbid concealed handgun license holders from carrying their pistols into a classroom, but it would allow private institutions to exempt themselves.
Chances for passage in the House — if it gets there — look strong, as 76 members have signed on to support the bill, authored by Rep. Joe Driver, R-Garland.
The House Public Safety Committee already has signed off on the measure. Now, it needs to get scheduled for debate in the full House.
“State after state after state have said no to it … and this committee just chose to ignore them,” said Marsha McCartney, president of the North Texas Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “I’m not usually surprised about what goes on in Austin, but I am terribly disappointed.”
In the Texas Senate, 13 members have pledged support for an identical measure sponsored by Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio.
If passed and signed into law, it would mark a rare legislative victory for advocates of allowing concealed firearms on campus. Similar proposals have failed in 19 other states since 2008, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
“If it does make it to the Senate floor we also expect it to pass,” said Katie Kasprzack, a spokeswoman for the grass-roots gun group Students for Concealed Carry on Campus. “We’re hearing that the Senate State Affairs (committee) may let the bill die. That’s going to be the biggest hurdle.”
Eleven universities or colleges across the country allow students and employees to carry handguns on campus.
Utah is the only state that prohibits all nine of its public universities from making rules to prevent a concealed handgun license holder from carrying on campus.
In the 23 states that give universities the option to allow it, only two have done so: Colorado State University and Blue Ridge Community College in Virginia. Twenty-four states, including Texas, forbid the possession of a handgun by licensees on their public university campuses, according to a House report.
*Hear what the people have to say:
Posted by :::Boy-Cott Magazine::: at 10:48 AM