Texas Senate introduces bill to allow concealed carry on college campuses

The Texas Senate recently introduced legislation to allow individuals with a Concealed Handgun License (CHL) to carry on public college campuses across the state.

Although the Senate Bill 11 has received mixed reviews across universities in the state of Texas, state legislators argue that the legislation could help college students protect themselves in harmful situations.

"This is not turning the campus into 'cowboy land,'" said Texas District 2 Senator Bob Hall (R) in an interview with The Herald Banner.

"I very much believe in the original intent of the Second Amendment that all people have a right to defend themselves," Hall said. "I think college students have as much right to defend themselves as anyone else.”

In December, the Student Government Association (SGA) at Texas A&M’s main campus passed a bill in favor of concealed carrying at their university.

“It is essential to understand this act only applies to CHL holders, who meet a high standard of eligibility criteria, such as federal qualifications to purchase a handgun, multiple background checks, and psychological health clearance,” Kyle Kelly, SGA president at Texas A&M, told Campus Reform. “CHL holders must also be 21 years of age or older, meaning most of those eligible will be upperclassmen or university personnel.”

“Institutions of higher education should not be an exception to the constitutional right to bear arms for self-defense and public safety,” Kelly previously told Campus Reform.

However, the SGA president at Texas A&M-Commerce, Jackson Dailey, told Campus Reform that the student body has held several discussions about the proposed law in previous years when the Texas legislature last attempted to pass a similar bill.

“A majority of our students disliked the idea due to the fear of having more weapons in the classroom,” Dailey said.

Dailey said students only really supported allowing CHL holders who were ex-military or ex-law enforcement—“people who were already trained rigorously in firing a weapon for their job”—to carry on campus.

According to The Herald Banner, Texas A&M-Commerce President Dr. Dan Jones did not take a stance on the legislation other than to say the school’s “obligation is to carry out the will of the legislature.”

Senate Bill 11 was authored by 19 senators, creating the majority needed for it to pass in that chamber of the legislature. If passed in the Texas House of Representatives, it will become effective Sept., 1.

Texas lawmakers aren’t alone in their fight to allow concealed carry on campus. A Republican lawmaker in Indiana is pushing to allow public universities to allow those with proper permits to carry on campus in order to help curtail campus sexual assault. The Montana Senate is also expected to take up similar legislation today.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @bethanysalgado