The Texas House just voted for the final time on Senate Bill 11, the Campus Carry bill. Representative Fletcher opened discussion with a spirited statement that the media had blown this bill all out of proportion, that it affects only a very few people (those CHL holders who are still attending college). He said that he’s received many calls from “many moms”, and went on to assert that all this bill truly does is protect our CHL licensees. He made it quite clear that the moms’ fears were ungrounded and inflated. He pointed out that people are already carrying concealed weapons on those college campuses, in the common areas . . .
That didn’t stop the testimony from those opposed to the bill, of course. Testimony was heard on both sides; Representative Helen Giddings said she’s “received more phone calls and letters on this issue than any since I’ve been in the legislature.”
Several representatives complained about various aspects of implementing the bill; Representative Turner pointed out that there’s nothing in any of the appropriations bills that would provide money to pay for the implementation of these new rules that the legislature is mandating upon them. He then then asked (paraphrased) “instead of spending this money so kids can carry guns to school, why not use this money to provide grants so kids can carry books to school?”
Representative Alma Allen spoke about recently attending a high school graduation of over 800 students. She described how they were “jubilantly crossing the stage and looking forward to where they will go to college. Little did they know that when they get to college, they’ll be met with an entourage of people carrying guns. Everyone carrying guns.” She then proceeded to deliver a litany of horror stories of students with guns; one example being one of students shooting teachers because they didn’t like the grade they got. She then says “we send our kids to college to bring home a degree… not to bring them home in a body bag.”
It wasn’t all one-sided. Rep. Zedler questioned Rep. Allen about the 14 states that already have campus carry, and “have you heard of (them having) any instances (of gun violence)?” She says “no”, and he points out “that’s because there haven’t been any. If there had been, they’d have been slapped all over the headlines as we’ve debated this.” Zedler pointed out that “in every instance that there’s ever been a mass shooting, it’s been in a gun-free zone.” He then asked her: “How many of those who have been involved in mass shootings, had a concealed weapons license?” She said “I don’t know”. He pointed out that it’s because CHL holders are more law-abiding “even than the police.”
The opposition was fierce, and it was vocal. Despite the opposition, the House moved quickly to vote on the bill, which passed with a final vote of 98 to 47, with one present but not voting. The Senate has passed the bill as well and it now heads to Governor Abbott’s desk for his signature.