University students in Texas could soon be allowed to carry guns to class. The legislation, which has yet to be voted on, has been endorsed by more than half of the members of the Texas House who have signed on as coauthors of the bill. Two years ago the state senate passed similar legislation, but the House failed to come onside. This time removing restrictions on carrying a concealed weapon in one of Texas’s 38 public universities is much more likely.
While Colorado gives universities the option to permit guns on campuses, only Utah has legislation that mandates concealed weapons be permitted on all state owned property, including public universities. Texas could be the second state to pass such a broad law. Twenty-three other states have rejected legislation to permit guns on campus in recent years.
Texas legislators say allowing guns on campus would give students the means to fight back against an armed attacker such as during the Virginia Tech shootings. “I don’t ever want to see repeated on a Texas college campus what happened at Virginia Tech, where some deranged, suicidal madman goes into a building and is able to pick off totally defenseless kids like sitting ducks,” state senator Jeff Wentworth says.
However some students are concerned about what bringing firearms to campus could mean. “If I was taking an exam and knew the person next to me had one, I don’t know how comfortable I would feel,” says Frankie Shulkin, a University of Texas law student. “I am in favor of guns rights and your typical conservative guy, but the classroom thing bugs me.” According to the Associated Press “University of Texas President William Powers has opposed concealed handguns on campus, saying the mix of students, guns and campus parties is too volatile.”