Students with concealed handgun licenses could soon carry guns on Texas college campuses.
The bill's primary author, Senator Brian Birdwell, said the bill is about preserving the 2nd Amendment.
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“This affords CHL holders, one of the most lawful group of citizens in our state, to be able exercise that 2nd amendment right to go on to the campus of higher learning to be able defend themselves and protect their right to self-preservation, God forbid, some act of evil be perpetrated,” Birdwell said.
If passed, the bill would allow CHL holders to bring concealed weapons onto public universities. Private universities could choose to go gun-free.
“It does respect the private property rights of the private institutions, and they have the opportunities to opt-out of the requirements," Birdwell said. "So we do want to respect the private institutions private property rights."
The bill also gives some say to universities on where students can and cannot bring their concealed weapons.
“They are to establish some rules and some boundaries, sporting events for example, are separated out of there, so it provides quite a bit of local control for the local universities,” said State Senator Kelly Hancock.
Hancock said the bill would not just affect students.
"And really more what you’re talking about more with a CHL on a college campus is really you’re probably addressing more professors, university employees then you are actually students," Hancock said.
Birdwell said CHL holders living on-campus at public universities would have to secure the gun, according to university set rules.
NBC 5 reached out to several DFW area universities and colleges for an opinion about the bill.
“In keeping with state law, neither the University of North Texas, as one of the state’s public institutions, nor I in my position as the university president, may take a position supporting or opposing any specific State of Texas legislation,” UNT President V. Lane Rawlings said in a statement.
TCU’s chancellor also released a statement on the bill.
“"With respect to the proposed bill, TCU's biggest priority is keeping the campus safe. We accomplish that through our 24/7 TCU Police force, which has procedures in place dedicated to the protection of all members of our community. I believe that TCU, as a private institution, should be provided with a choice as to whether we would permit someone with a concealed weapon license to carry a weapon on campus," said TCU Chancellor Victor J. Boschini Jr.
In the past, the student congress at UTA passed a resolution against CHL holders bringing concealed guns to class.
The bill has been referred to the Criminal Justice Committee.