Texas Legislature
2:46 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

CHL Campus-Carry Bill Dies In Senate, But The Fight Isn't Over Yet

Lawmakers at the capitol have approved a measure to train public school teachers to respond during a mass-shooting event and let die a bill to allow concealed-handgun license holders to carry guns on a college campus. 

As the first of its kinds, House Bill 1009 provides volunteer school teachers with the same level of training as a police officers who respond to a mass-shooting scenario. 

"We plan on passing the bill exactly as it passed the House," said Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, who carried the bill in the Senate.

It passed in both the House and Senate because it allowed local school districts to opt-in to the program and did not take on any rogue bills that could not pass on their own - such as House Bill 972, the campus-carry bill that did not have the votes to get through.

"I’m disappointed because in the previous two sessions, bills that were stronger in their language, those bill were either supported as a straight bill or as amendments to another bill and passed out of this body, and now a bill that is less strong, less liberty to the citizens, can’t get out of here," said Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Grandbury, who sponsored the campus-carry bill.

That bill would have allowed universities to decide whether or not to allow concealed-handgun license holders to carry their firearm to class, but with a lack of initial support it never received a debate on the Senate floor.

Birdwell is not giving up hope just yet, and believes there is still hope in the special session.

"I believe it will seriously be considered, but whether we have a special session and whether this matter is added to it is up to the senior leadership to evaluate and make that decision," Birdwell conceded.

Birdwell said if Gov. Rick Perry calls a special session he would offer the stronger version of the campus-carry bill, which doesn’t give universities the choice of opting-out.