Democratic state senator blocks Texas bill to permit concealed carry campuses
A bill that would have allowed students and faculty to carry concealed handguns on college campuses in Texas will likely fail in the state Senate due to one Democratic senator who refused to allow the legislation to come up for a vote in the committee he controls.
Sen. John Whitmire, who is the chairman of the Criminal Justice Committee, has declined to take up the legislation, calling it “very divisive” and citing the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook as a reason the bill shouldn’t be considered by his committee at this time.
"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," Whitmire told The Houston Chronicle last Wednesday.
Brandon Waltens, a student at Baylor University and a state leader of the Young Conservatives of Texas, said he was frustrated with the decision to block the bill.
“It’s an abuse of committee power,” said Waltens. “It’s unfortunate that he’s deciding to use his power as chairman of the committee to block the Senate from hearing such an important bill.”
Waltens believes that students have the right to carry their concealed firearm on campus if they have the license to do so. His group garnered 600 signatures for a petition to support the bill back in March.
Another piece of legislation to allow faculty and students to store firearms in their vehicles on campus appears to have a brighter future in the Texas legislature, however.
The State Senate passed a bill that would allow guns in vehicles on Wednesday morning in a 27-4 vote.
The bill now moves to the House for debate and a vote.
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