UPDATE: Texas House approves bill that would allow concealed carry on campus
The Texas State House overwhelmingly approved a bill on Monday that would allow the concealed carry of handguns on the state's college campuses.
The vote came just one week after a Texas Democratic State Senator blocked a hearing on the controversial issue in the state’s upper chamber.
The House version, HB 972, which was modified significantly in committee and on the House floor, aims to give students and faculty with concealed carry licenses the ability to carry their handguns on college campuses in the state of Texas; however, university presidents -- from both public and private institutions are granted the power to "opt-out" from allowing concealed carry on their campus.
The measure passed Monday afternoon on 3rd reading with a vote of 102-41.
Just last week, the Senate version of the bill was blocked in from seeing a vote in the Criminal Justice Committee by chairman John Whitmire.
Texas Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, the Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT), and the Texas Aggie Conservatives have made passage of the legislation their number one priority for the year.
Justin Pulliam, the former leader of Texas Aggie Conservatives and current medical at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio frame the issue as a matter of human rights.
"Law abiding CHL holders should not have to sacrifice their basic human right of personal security and protection as a condition of obtaining higher education, so it's great that this legislation is advancing," Pulliam told Campus Reform on Monday.
But Pulliam said it was only a partial victory for 2nd Amendment rights groups.
"Many students realize, however university presidents will opt-out from concealed carry on campus if given the opportunity, and these students will continue to push for legislation that truly protects law abiding individuals' rights to self defense on campus," he concluded.
In March, the local YCT chapter at Baylor University collected over 600 signatures from students who supported the measure.
The Texas House also passed a bill on the last week that would place armed school marshals in public schools in response to school safety concerns following the Sandy Hook tragedy.
Last Saturday was dubbed “gun day” by media outlets in Texas following action on both pieces of legislation by the state House.
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