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Texas Campus Carry Bill A Huge Disappointment

Ariel Walden,

Texas lawmakers on Saturday preliminarily approved House Bill 972 by State Rep. Allen Fletcher. The bill would allow students, faculty, and staff members along with anyone over the age of 21 who has a concealed handgun license to carry weapons on campus. According to the Texas Tribune, 24 other states have campus carry but not Texas.

The bill has been called the “campus carry” bill, but to call it that would be nothing short of insulting to a real campus carry bill. In reality, this bill by Rep. Allen Fletcher is garbage. It’s weak and shows just how spineless lawmakers have become in Austin.

Fletcher along with other Republicans will argue that this bill will extend gun rights to Texans. Republican lawmakers will be able to run on the fact that they passed campus carry in Texas. Lawmakers will use the vote to show just how much they love the Second Amendment. Don’t fall for it friends. Republican lawmakers did not give more power to responsible gun owners. Instead, lawmakers gave more power to the colleges and universities.

How did lawmakers do this? According to the Texas Tribune, language in the “campus carry” bill allows for schools to opt-out. All the schools have to do is consider the input they receive from students, faculty, and staff before making a decision.

Fletcher reassured members that the bill had an “opt-out” provision that allowed schools to reject participation, and allowed an amendment that requires institutions, after consulting with staff, students and other stakeholders, to renew the policy annually. The bill does not extend to sporting events, and Fletcher allowed an amendment that would prevent CHL holders from taking firearms to other “official mass gatherings.” He also gave the green light to an amendment by state Rep. Craig Eiland, D-Galveston, that forbids carrying firearms on campuses that hold “biocontainment” laboratories. Eiland’s district includes the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

Pathetic. Instead of standing up for the rights of Texans, lawmakers gave in to the colleges and universities and the pressure they put on them. Instead of looking to protect Texans, lawmakers wanted to protect their jobs and shift the blame to the colleges and universities.

Do we really believe that the public colleges and universities will allow campus carry? Maybe a handful will, but the majority will reject it. Many university officials have already come out against campus carry, why should we believe that they will honestly listen to the will of the people? Trust me on this, officials with the universities and colleges in Texas are very happy with this bill.

This legislation already faces an uncertain future in the Texas Senate, but it won’t matter. What passed on Saturday wasn’t campus carry. It won’t protect Texans on campuses around Texas and it certainly wasn’t pro-Second Amendment.

What happened on Saturday was an insult to all responsible Texans who wish to protect themselves. Remember this when your lawmaker returns home and attempts to use it to their advantage.

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