AUSTIN – Legislation allowing licensed concealed firearms on college campuses has been introduced in the Texas House of Representatives.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Joe Driver would allow Texas residents already licensed to carry under state law to have the same right to self-defense on college campuses as they do elsewhere in Texas.
“A lot of people hear about guns and schools and become alarmed,” said David Burnett, President and spokesman of Students for Concealed Carry. “The fact is that concealed carry is already an established body of law in Texas and most other states. There’s a process with age requirements, background checks and training before you can carry a handgun. If you’re mentally ill, or have a history of violent crime or drug and alcohol abuse, you can’t carry a gun.
“This is about people who already responsibly carry elsewhere in the state, including restaurants, shopping malls, movie theaters, churches and banks. No one feels unsafe in those places, even though the odds are someone there is armed. Yet if a citizen walks onto a college campus, their right to self-defense is taken away.”
Students for Concealed Carry got started after the Virginia Tech shooting, which the group says proved gun free zones don’t work.
“Stickers on the doors saying ‘no guns allowed’ won’t keep an armed killer out of the building,” said Burnett. “Until you have a practical mechanism for enforcing a gun-free zone, you can’t tell people they can’t protect themselves.”
Texas is one of nine states currently considering campus carry; similar bills are advancing in Arizona, Tennessee, Michigan, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Florida, Nebraska and Mississippi.
Critics argue that colleges are generally safe environments and adding guns would make things worse. But the group points to reports of rising crime on college campuses, noting that in addition to high-profile shootings like Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University, there were more than 3,000 sexual assaults, 4,500 robberies and 5000 assaults on college campuses in 2008.
The group also notes that 26 colleges in three states already allow licensed concealed carry on campus, with no resulting problems.
“We’re not handing out pistols at the door,” said Daniel Crocker, the Southwest Regional Director with Students for Concealed Carry. “We’re talking about former military, ROTC cadets, professors and other mature adults with permits.”
The bill has been assigned to the Homeland Security & Public Safety committee.
President, Students for Concealed Carry
Southwest Regional Director, Students for Concealed Carry
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