Texas Senator Brian Birdwell introduces act to allow handguns on campus
Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 10:01
Texas Senator Brian Birdwell introduced the Campus Personal Protection Act that explicitly allows a concealed handgun licensee to “carry a concealed handgun on or about the license holder’s person while the license holder is on the campus [of a college or university].”
Zach Giddens, a freshman criminal justice major, is leery about what the bill will make commonplace at Sam Houston.
“I would probably feel a tiny bit safer just about anywhere, but it’s not a necessity,” said Giddens. “If everyone had the ability to carry a gun on campus, and it became a common thing, then yes, I would carry a gun.”
The CPPA would allow any person with a CHL to carry on university property for personal protection. The bill states that individual university policy on guns cannot circumvent the Act, unless the school has support from the faculty, staff, and student body.
Birdwell in a press release on Thursday said, “For me, this isn’t just about the firearm. It’s about trusting citizens with their God-given, constitutional rights.”
The bill allows universities to make rules and regulations about the storage of a concealed handgun inside a university dormitory or residence. In addition, if the law the university could be held liable if an incident involving a concealed handgun were to occur.
“I disagree that the school should be liable for making rules,” said Giddens. “If they don’t enforce them, that’s a mistake, but I don’t think that they should be legally liable.”
The essence of the bill has been introduced before, but failed to see itself become law.
Months prior to the Virginia Tech Massacre in which Seung-Hui Cho shot 49 people, killing thirty-two of them, Virginia Delegate Todd Gilbert introduced a similar bill that said, “… No board of visitors or other governing body of an educational institution shall have the authority to establish rules or regulations limiting or abridging the ability of a student with a valid concealed handgun permit from lawfully carrying a concealed handgun.”
After the bill died in subcommittee, Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker said, “I’m sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly’s actions because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus.”
Although the Virginia bill didn’t receive much support in 2005, the CPPA has received outstanding support by the National and Texas State Rifle Associations.
TSRA Legislative Director Alice Tripp calls the bill a “TSRA agenda issue” that is “strongly supported.”
If passed, the Act also gained the support of thirteen other Texas Senators and will be enacted in September 2013.
*Editors Note: There were several changes made due to inaccuracies in the original post. The word openly was removed from the sentence that said, "The CPPA would allow any person with a CHL to openly carry on university property for personal protection." The last sentence was revised to clarify that if the bill was passed, then the date listed would be the day the bill would go into effect.