Texas Senate passes college campus gun bill - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/20/09

Texas Senate passes college campus gun bill

By Brittany Pieper  - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Texas college students are one step closer to carrying guns on campus. The State Senate tentatively passed a bill to allow those with conceal and carry licenses to bring their guns on campus. Soon, when you're walking around Texas Tech's campus anyone around you with a concealed handgun license might legally have a gun on them. Some say the ability to protect themselves with a gun makes them feel safe, while other students adamantly oppose the bill.

"I think it helps. I mean, take all the past cases that have happened with different campus shootings," said Mary Willeford who works at TTU. She's talking about cases like Virginia Tech when a lone gunman shot and killed 32 people on campus.

State Senator Jeff Wentworth of San Antonio says incidents like Virginia Tech prompted him to file a bill allowing those with concealed handgun licenses to carry guns college campuses.

Willeford has her concealed handgun license and says if she were still a student she would carry it to class with her. "If the law passes, and you can carry it in your backpack, then some crazy kid comes in you can protect yourself and your students, and you know, your professor and all those mentors around you," she said. 

Willeford and other supporters emphasize only those with a license could carry, which means students 21 and older. "You have to shoot the gun, and you have to pass the test. You have to pass the background. It's not like just anybody can get the license," said Willeford. 

Regardless of the background check and training, other Tech students say they would feel uneasy knowing anyone around them might have a firearm. "It's a terrible thing. I think that crime is already increased enough," said graduate student Marquisha Moody. 

Student and faculty groups at other state campuses, namely the University of Texas, protested and passed resolutions against the bill. "Something bad is going to happen because students are carrying guns on campus," said TTU senior Terrell Bibb. 

The State Senate allowed a change to the bill that gives private schools the choice to allow guns or not, but they rejected a proposed change to let students request a gun free dorm.Now the bill must go through the Texas House of Representatives where they already let a similar bill die because of a legislative deadline. With only about two weeks left in this legislative session, supporters face a quickly approaching deadline to pass the bill.

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