Back in 2011, a simpler time, the most heated gun-related debate in the Texas Legislature was over a provision allowing concealed weapons to be brought onto college campuses. That proposal seems almost quaint as the focus has shifted to proposals to arm elementary school teachers.
That's not to say that the campus carry debate has gone away; far from it. Even after Senator Jeff Wentworth's 2011 proposal failed to pass the House, legislators and gun rights groups never really stopped pushing the proposal. And now, it's officially back.
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Senator Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, filed a bill this morning to allow handguns on college campuses.
The bill itself if pretty straightforward, allowing those with concealed handgun permits to bring their gun on campus and prohibiting colleges, public or private, from saying otherwise. Schools would be allowed to establish rules governing the storage of weapons in dorms and other residential facilities, but public institutions could do little else. Private colleges would be allowed to bar guns from certain areas of campus, but only "after consulting with students, staff and faculty."
Wentworth told the Texas Tribune last April that campus carry has "overwhelming support in both the Senate and the House." He also predicted a "vigorous debate" during the current session. Here's betting he's right.