Some lawmakers consider allowing guns on college campuses

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by E.L., May 1, 2007.

  1. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Even a blind hog finds an acorn every now and then.

    Some lawmakers consider allowing guns on college campuses

    Gun-control proponents say bill has good chance

    <!-- newsworthy --><!--endtext--><SCRIPT src="" type=text/javascript></SCRIPT><SCRIPT src="" type=text/javascript></SCRIPT><!--begintext--><!-- -->By David Rauf
    Tuesday, May 01, 2007
    Gov. Rick Perry and some Republicans in the Legislature have said they are considering a repeal of a state law that prohibits the possession of firearms on college campuses.
    Perry and a group of lawmakers who have championed Second Amendment issues say students and faculty members who are licensed by the state to carry firearms should be allowed to take their weapons onto campuses for protection.
    "I think it's time for us to have that debate in Texas," Perry said at a news conference Monday.
    The issue bulleted to the forefront of national debate two weeks ago, after a 23-year-old student at Virginia Tech University carried out the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Since the shootings, advocates of the Second Amendment have argued that a law-abiding citizen can use guns to stop a gun-wielding maniac.
    "It makes sense for Texans to be able to protect themselves from deranged individuals," Perry said.
    Texas is one of 16 states that explicitly bans concealed weapons on college and university campuses.
    Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio said last week that he could support allowing guns on campuses.
    "I believe we ought to revisit that policy," Wentworth said. "It probably needs some changing."
    Rep. Frank Corte Jr., a Republican from San Antonio who carries a concealed handgun license, said gun free zones are known "by the bad guys that this is where people don't have firearms."
    Corte and Wentworth said legislation could come as soon as next session.
    "I don't know where it will go," said Corte, chairman of the House Defense Affairs and State-Federal Relations committee. "But I think there will be a lot of discussion."
    Another Republican, Rep. Joe Driver of Garland, suggested that some of the bloodshed at Virginia Tech might have been prevented if a student or professor with a gun had the ability to step in.
    "To me that situation could have been changed if that rule wasn't in effect," Driver said last week. "Anybody who has a concealed handgun license should be allowed to carry their guns to as many places as possible."
    All three Republicans said they would support, and possibly author, a bill that repeals the current weapons free zones created on college campuses.
    Driver said the committee he chairs, the House Committee on Law Enforcement, will begin an interim study on the subject when the legislature convenes.
    "With the Virginia Tech situation, I think it's a good time to start the discussion because unfortunately the tragedy is fresh in everybody's mind and we'll be able to discuss the pros and the cons," Driver said.
    On the other side of the issue, Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, an National Rifle Association member who has a track record for voting in favor of gun legislation, said allowing college students to arm themselves on campus is bad public policy.
    "There is certainly the possibility that someone could bring that legislation up, but I think if they did it would be opportunistic and ill-advised," Carona said.
    But in a Legislature controlled by Republicans who Carona classifies as having "rarely met an expanded gun owner right that it didn't look favorably upon," the possibility of such legislation getting passed remains high, especially if the NRA backs the bill.
    This session, the NRA has been successful ushering two of the organization's priorities into law.
    In March, Perry signed the controversial "castle doctrine," which was authored by Wentworth and Driver and allows homeowners to shoot intruders, as long as they believe they are in danger of being attacked. And on Friday, Perry signed a bill by Corte and Carona that would prevent the arbitrary confiscation of firearms in a state of emergency.
    "I've always felt that the NRA absolutely controls the legislative process in Texas to the detriment of public safety," Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, said.
    Although, the NRA publicly backed a failed measure in the Virginia House last year that would have allowed students with concealed weapons permits to carry their guns on campus, they have been silent about the issue since the shootings at Virginia Tech.
    Ashley Varner, a spokeswoman for the NRA, said she would not comment until legislation has been proposed.
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