Recently the Texas House of Representatives passed HB 972 which decriminalizes campus concealed carry. House Bill 972 relates to the carrying of concealed handguns on the premises of colleges and certain other locations associated with institutions of higher education. This bill would allow concealed carry licensees such as students, faculty and staff of a public college or university to carry handguns onto campus and into classrooms.
Senate, Others Currently Opposed to Bill
The bill does have a provision which would allow schools to opt-out of the mandate if input from students, faculty and staff dictated that they were opposed to the law. Senator John Whitmire pronounced the campus carry bill dead during the last legislative session, citing a need for a cooling-off period in the wake of national gun-related tragedies. “I don’t think there is any question that the tragedies around the country, most recently at Sandy Hook, put a chilling effect on broadening the right to carry on campuses and other venues.”
Other Proposals Filed in Spite of Senate Decline
Republican Senator Glenn Hegar filed a proposal that would guarantee students with concealed carry licenses the right to transport and store handguns in their vehicles on campus. Whitmire said that he expected the vehicle carry proposal to pass. “It is their own personal vehicle, their own personal firearm,” Hegar said of his bill. “It is locked out of sight, out of mind; no one knows it’s there’s and it’s their Second Amendment right.” Current Texas State law restricts firearms from being carried in college buildings but leaves areas like parking lots up to the discretion of individual institutions.
Organization Dedicated for College Carry
Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) is a national organization of more than 43,000 college students, faculty, staff, parents and concerned citizens who believe that concealed carry holders should be “allowed the same measure of personal protection on college campuses that current laws afford them virtually everywhere else.” Although SCC regards college campuses as safe, the recent high profile shootings and armed abductions demonstrate the need for improved merits of self-protection.
According to the SCC website, concealed handgun license holders are five times less likely than non-license holders to commit violent crimes. This is why, in part, the 11 U.S. colleges that currently allow concealed carry on campus have not seen any resulting incidents of gun violence, gun accidents, or gun thefts.
What is your take on campus carry? Please let us know in the notes. Learn more about concealed carry permits in Citrus County.