Texas campus carry bill slides through just under deadline

Texas campus carry bill slides through just under deadline

Texas campus carry bill

House Republicans snatched victory from the jaws of defeat for a measure that would bring lawful concealed carry to college and university campuses in the Lone Star State late Tuesday.

In a vote just minutes before a midnight session deadline, lawmakers in the Texas State House agreed by a 101-47 vote to pass a Senate bill to allow campus carry. Originally introduced with the blessing of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in January, the measure passed the state Senate by a 20-11 Republican-led vote in March.

House Democrats, citing safety concerns, attempted to smother the legislation with amendments that were eventually stripped away, allowing for a partisan vote. Sponsors of the proposal downplayed the concerns.

“The idea that this bill will increase is any increase in violence is unfounded,” said House sponsor Allen Fletcher, R-Tomball.

The measure, SB 11, would allow concealed handgun permit holders to carry on college and university campus grounds to include living areas and classes. As originally framed, the bill allowed private institutions to opt-out of allowing guns on campus.

While most of the House amendments were stripped away, three were retained that extended the opt-out power to public institutions and exempted the Texas Medical Center altogether. Any such opt-out would require at least a two-thirds majority from the school’s board of regents or similar governing body.