Thanks to your continued support and participation in government, Texas Senators have voted to allow concealed handgun license holders to carry their weapons into public college classrooms and buildings.
Monday’s 21-10 vote is a major push on an issue that had stalled in the Senate and House despite overwhelming numbers of lawmakers in support.
Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, had been unable to muster the votes he needed under Senate rules to pass the issue as its own bill. Monday’s vote tacked the measure onto a universities spending bill.
Supporters call it a critical self-defense measure and gun rights issue. Opponents worry concealed handguns could lead to more campus violence and suicide.
Utah is the only other state that allows guns on college campuses. A college-gun bill passed the Arizona legislature, but governor Jan Brewer vetoed the bill last month.
The measure has met stiff resistance from higher education officials, notably from liberals and progressives within the University of Texas system.
The Senate also voted Monday to let legislators, statewide elected officials and U.S. attorneys carry concealed handguns to locations that are off limits to most concealed handgun licensees. A bill approved by the Senate on a 25-6 vote would let those government officials pack concealed weapons at sporting events, and in churches, hospitals and bars - even in businesses that have a policy prohibiting persons from carrying handguns onto their premises. The measure now goes to the House.
If the bill passes this session, lawmakers and statewide officeholders would join federal judges, state judges, district attorneys, assistant district attorneys and county attorneys and retired law enforcement officers who are already exempt from most restrictions on where concealed handguns may be carried. More than 460,000 Texans have concealed handgun licenses.