Monday, March 30, 2009

Texas Considers Legislation That Would Allow Guns on Campuses


We all remember the tragedy. Nearly two years ago, a lone gunman opened fire on his fellow students at Virginia Tech and thirty-two people were left dead in the wake of the massacre. Last year, the students at Northern Illinois experienced a similar tragedy that resulted in five deaths and eighteen people wounded. The question that has plagued campus leaders across the country since then has been, "How do we prevent such violence at our own schools?" Many colleges have instituted a system of sending text and email messages seconds after a threat is recognized. Other campuses are encouraging professors to monitor the behavior of their students more closely. One idea being discussed in several states, including Texas, is the lift on the ban of guns on college campuses.

The House version of this bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Joe Driver (R), is set for a public hearing today in front of the Public Safety Committee. Driver and other supporters of this legislation argue that this bill only supports the right of those who are already licensed to carry concealed weapons, which includes people at least twenty-years of age, pass a criminal background check, and complete a training course. Also, they believe that the presence of law-abiding students who are carrying guns will deter those who may be inclined to do harm.

The history of such legislation in other states does not bode well for Texas. Eighteen other states have considered permitting guns on campus since 2008, and every effort has failed. Those who hope that this trend continues include the University of Texas Student Government, the Graduate Student Assembly and the Faculty Council. All of the groups have passed resolutions against the campus gun bill.

The attorneys at Bertolino LLP are always following the activity in Austin so that we are ready to assist you with any changes to the law. Our criminal defense attorneys certainly will be aware of where and when you can carry your firearm so that you are able to fight any charges that you believe to be unjustified. If you have found yourself in such a situation, please contact our Austin, Houston, or San Antonio office today.

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