The bill in the Texas House that would allow gun owners with concealed handgun licenses (CHL) to carry concealed handguns on public colleges and universities is one step closer to passage and becoming law. The Campus Carry Bill (HB 937) was passed out of the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee.
HB 937 was filed in January by State Representative Allen Fletcher (R-Cypress) as a companion bill to SB 11 which passed out of the Senate earlier in March. Like the Senate bill, HB 937 was passed along a straight party-line vote of 9-3 in the committee.
Breitbart Texas previously reported on the House committee hearing on March 18th, where Chairman Larry Phillips (R-Sherman) received testimony from supporters and opponents of the bill. College students and professors spoke both in favor of and against the bill’s passage. Chairman Phillips responded to claims that campus police and city police chiefs oppose the bills by reminding people that those police officials are employed by mayors and college officials who are opposed to the bills. He also reminded people that most law enforcement officials were against the original concealed carry laws and later found that most of their fears never came to reality.
The bill in the House was amended to reflect the changes made in SB 11 on the Senate floor. The primary change in language is to preclude open carry on campus should the bill allowing open carry for CHL holders be passed into law. Once HB 937 reaches the House floor, the bills five authors and 39 coauthors give the bill a great start towards passage with over half of the 76 votes needed.
Meanwhile the debate over whether this law will make college campuses safer or not. “Just how far is the Lone Star State ready to go to promote gun rights?” Brianna Kessler wrote in The Rambler, a Texas Wesleyan University publication, “Trigger-friendly Texans are currently promoting two bills that could change our way of life.” The proposed legislation; however, does not apply to private universities like Texas Wesleyan. Kessler says she thinks it is a good idea that people can protect themselves, but then she falls back on the stereotypical scare tactics that have been commonplace in this debate.
“I understand the law would affirm our constitutional rights, but this is just plain dangerous,” she explained. “Students could improperly store guns. Or they could accidentally misfire. Also, faculty and staff are not trained on how to protect students in gunfights.”
Kessler concludes her article stating:
But what happens when one student gets mad and takes it too far? What if they pulled out their gun and an educational debate ends up being a tragedy? Or what happens when a student gets mad about their grade? Or gets mad at another student?
Also, after learning and class time, many universities turn into places for students to socialize. Students go to frat parties and hang out, and often drugs and alcohol are brought into the mix. And if that wasn’t a big enough problem, now we’re going to add fire arms into the mix.
Yeah! Great idea.
On the other side of the argument, Madison D. Welch wrote an editorial in the Houston Chronicle. Welch has been active in the Students for Concealed Carry organization. “The most basic form of this argument conflates college campuses with stereotypical depictions of college life,” Welch wrote.” Opponents make terrifying predictions about the dangers of mixing guns and alcohol. Not surprisingly, these predictions ignore the fact that the alcohol-centric activities often associated with college life take place almost exclusively off-campus and are seldom if ever found in lecture halls, libraries or cafeterias – the places affected by campus gun bans.”
“Purveyors of the colleges-are-different myth argue that students are simply too young, naïve, and emotionally immature to carry firearms,” she explains. “While many collegians, particularly military veterans and other nontraditional students, have good reason to take issue with that assessment, a discussion about the maturity of college students is nothing but a distraction.”
“Campus carry is not an unproven concept,” she argues. “Outside of Texas, more than 150 U.S. college campuses have allowed it for a combined total of almost 1,500 (fall/spring) semesters, without a single resulting assault or suicide. Licensed concealed carry is just as safe and effective on college campuses as anywhere else, so why should Texas maintain its current honor system-based laws and policies that stack the odds in favor of any violent criminal or homicidal maniac willing to disregard state law and school policy?”
Breitbart Texas reached out to Calendars Committee Chairman Todd Hunter for comment about the process of getting the bill to the floor for a vote. No response has been received at this time. Breitbart Texas will provide updated information when it becomes available. At this time, it is not known when, or if, the bill will be scheduled for floor debate and a vote.