Campus carry bill moves ahead

Published 10:52 am Thursday, May 28, 2015

The clock is ticking on campus carry legislation with only a handful of days remaining in the current session.
The campus carry legislation — which would allow persons with concealed carry licenses to bring their guns to the college campus — received  preliminary approval by the House at the 11th hour on Tuesday and seemed destined to fail as more than 100 amendments were added in a Democratic effort to kill it.
The amendments were dropped shortly before midnight and the issue approved in a 101-47 vote.
Midnight was the deadline for the House to pass bills that originated in the Senate. A final House vote on the measure Wednesday would set up negotiations with the Senate. A compromise would have to be sent to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott by June 1 to be signed into law, according to the Associated Press.
State Rep. Joe Deshotel representing District 22 voted against the issue, he said adding that one of the only amendments to be included in the bill is to include private universities that receive tax equalization grants to allow campus carry.
University students are a young population of maturing people. Alcohol and parties typically go hand in hand with college life, he said.
“I don’t think it (campus carry) is necessary,” Deshotel said.
Mike Wintemute, associate vice chancellor for governmental relations for Texas State University System, said TSUS has not taken a formal position on the bill and, as a state agency, as neutral on all legislation. The role of the TSUS in this context is to inform legislature about the potential impacts of legislation.
One of the amendments allows the governing boards of colleges and universities to determine if there are locations on the campus where guns should be restricted.
This, he said, has the potential to significantly impact how the institutions deal with campus carry.
“The institution will make sure whatever the legislature passes is implemented and works as intended. That’s our obligation as a state agency,” Wintemute said. “At the same time continue to ensure students, faculty and staff are leaning and working in as safe an environment as possible.”
According to the Associated Press, at least 20 states allow some form of campus carry, but only a handful make it a defined right in state law, as the Texas bill would.
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