Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Concealed Weapons on Campus Passes in Texas Senate

As I have discussed on this blog before, the Texas state legislature has grappled this session with the controversial idea of allowing students to carry their concealed handguns on campus. The proposed legislation, which stemmed from the shooting massacre at Virginia Tech two years ago, would allow students and employees who are at least twenty-one years old who already have a license to carry a concealed weapon to bring their guns into campus buildings. Exceptions would be made for campus medical and athletic facilities. Last week, the bill came one step closer to being law.

The Texas Senate gave final passage to the campus handgun bill with a 19-12 vote. As the sponsor of the bill, Senator Jeff Wentworth (R-San Antonio), said, "“I would feel personally guilty if I woke up one morning and read that something similar [to the tragedy at Virginia Tech] had occurred on a Texas campus." Opponents continue to argue that adding more guns to an environment is not going to improve a gun-related problem.

The bill must now go back to the House for debate and a vote by the same lawmakers who allowed the proposal to die last week by not discussing it before the deadline. As of this post, exactly half of the members of the House have pledged their support for the bill.

If the bill gets signed into law, students at all state universities would be able to put their concealed weapon permit into use. Private institutions would be able to opt out of the law if they so choose.

The attorneys at Bertolino LLP are aggressive defenders of your constitutional rights and follow all of the activity in Austin in order to know where you stand with Texas law. However, if you make the poor decision to take a gun into your engineering or psychology building before the state gives you the legal clearance, you will need legal representation. We have criminal defense attorneys in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio who are ready to assist you.

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