House Scrambles to Allow Concealed Handguns on Campuses

In attempting to save the vital right of Texas college students to attend classes with a concealed firearm, the Texas House of Representatives may have killed it.

Facing a midnight deadline that would have stopped the campus carry bill from proceeding further, House Republicans forced a vote, which they won 101-to-47. The bill they approved includes a couple of amendments, necessitating its being sent back to the Senate for final approval. One of the amendments could scuttle the whole thing.

Under the version of campus carry passed by the House, private universities would not be allowed to opt out of allowing concealed carry, and that provision was key to the bill getting passed in the Senate. Baylor University is one of the largest private employers in Granbury, which is Senator Brian Birdwell's district. Birdwell authored the Senate version of the bill.

Birdwell has contended that not allowing private schools to get out of having students with guns wandering into classrooms violates private schools' property rights. He isn't offering privileges — less likelihood of being shot, perhaps — to kids or families that can afford private schools, he's said.

Educators from around the state are against the bill, including University of Texas System Chancellor William McRaven, who said in February that professors not knowing if their students were packing would inhibit discussion in the classroom. Another amendment to the House-passed version of the bill would allow individual schools to exempt certain areas on their campuses from guns.

Jonathan Stickland, our favorite state representative and noted gun lover, was displeased with the version of the bill that passed.

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