Proposed legislation that would allow people to carry firearms on Texas campuses has gotten “stuck” in the Senate and its fate is unknown. We first shared our thoughts about this bill a few months ago, when it was believed the bill would have no problems passing. Now, it appears as if opponents might be slowing the passage with some serious countermeasures.
According to the Associated Press, Senator Jeff Wentworth pulled the bill after losing too many votes, this despite the fact that 13 of 31 senators are said to support it. In order for the bill to go to vote, he needed 21 backers. At the last minute, one Democratic Senator rescinded his support and Wentworth was forced to remove it from consideration. He says he’ll be trying again next week.
Several opposed Senators are concerned that the bill doesn’t have any exemptions for campuses that also have a primary or secondary school on their grounds. Wentworth counters that he plans to add an amendment to this effect but that it would only apply to those primary and secondary education buildings, not the entire campus.
Without an exemption for the entire school, he may not be able to gain crucial support. Such an exemption would affect the University of Texas at Austin among other campuses.
University officials wouldn’t be hurt if the bill didn’t pass. Many University officials and students are worried such a bill would put them in harm’s way—and they’ve been crusading against it from day one.
A similar measure is in the House where it is also pending. There, 85 members are said to support it.
One interesting argument against the law is that the people carrying weapons on campus would have to be 21 and meet other requirements as well. The vast majority of college students aren’t 21. Also, the only people allowed to carry weapons within the buildings would be those with concealed carry permits.
The journey of this legislation is far from over and it will be interesting to see what changes are made in an effort to get it passed, and if it’s eventually passed at all.