Students in Texas could be allowed to carry handguns inside classrooms after Texas House members tentatively approved the legislation.
The bill will allow concealed handguns to be carried into dormitories, classrooms and cafeterias on public college campuses by those aged over 21, expanding their presence from being confined to university grounds.
Public universities will be allowed to specify where on the campus concealed handguns are permitted, while private universities can ignore the legislation entirely.
According to Star-Telegram, Texas House member Giovanni Capriglione said after the vote: “Finally our students will be protected, our professors will be protected and law abiding citizens will be protected.”
The bill will go to the Senate today and will need to be signed by Republican Governor Greg Abbott before Texas becomes the ninth state to have such a law in place.
Currently 20 states ban concealed weapons from college campuses while 23 allow schools to decide their own policies, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Criticism of the legislation is often driven from school-shooting incidents. In 1966, 16 people were killed by a rifle at the University of Texas in Austin.
William McRaven, chancellor of the University of Texas System wrote a letter to the Lieutenant Governor of Texas, Dan Patrick, in January: “Our parents, students, faculty, administrators, and law enforcement all continue to express their concerns that the presence of concealed handguns on campus would contribute to a less-safe environment, not a safer one.”
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