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May 19, 2009 (512) 463-0300

CONCEALED CARRY ON CAMPUS PASSES SENATE

Sen. Wentworth
Senator Jeff Wentworth of San Antonio votes in favor of his bill to permit concealed handgun licensees to carry guns in university buildings.

(AUSTIN) — Students at Texas colleges with a concealed handgun license would be permitted to take their guns to class under a bill approved by the Senate Tuesday. Current law doesn't prohibit concealed carry licensees to be armed on campus, but it does ban guns from college buildings and classrooms. SB 1164 by San Antonio Senator Jeff Wentworth would change that, allowing guns in the classroom, public buildings and residence halls. Wentworth said recent school shootings at colleges in Virginia and Illinois inspired this bill. "They were picked off like sitting ducks in the classroom in Virginia," he said. "I just think we ought to be able to defend ourselves from that kind of situation. It happens very rarely, but when it does happen, it's catastrophic."

To qualify for a concealed handgun permit, a person must be 21 years of age and pass classroom and gun range qualifications. SB 1164 would not allow colleges to prohibit concealed carry licensees from having guns in their dorm rooms, but officials could set rules on how those guns must be stored. The bill would also allow private institutions to opt out of the law, and doesn't change current law that prohibits guns at college sporting events. The bill now heads to the House for further consideration.

Some of the 31 bills passed by the Senate Tuesday include:

- HB 2283, sponsored by Deuell, would permit the state to offer Roth IRAs to employees,

- HB 1257, sponsored by Williams, would permit small businesses damaged by a natural disaster to pay property taxes in four installments,

- HB 2467, sponsored by Whitmire, would make playgrounds drug free zones.

The Senate will reconvene Wednesday, May 20 at 11 a.m.

Session video and all other webcast recordings can be accessed from the Senate website's audio and video archive pages.

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