SENATE PASSES CAMPUS CARRY
|Senator Brian Birdwell of Granbury authored the bill that would permit concealed carry of handguns at public universities.|
(AUSTIN) — The Texas Senate gave preliminary approval to a measure Wednesday that would permit concealed handgun license holders to carry weapons on campus. Granbury Senator Brian Birdwell authored the bill, and he argued that the right to bear arms is a sacred right that shouldn't stop on university grounds. "The people of the state of Texas own our public universities, therefore we ought not be limiting a right on public property," he said.
SB 11 would remove the current restriction that prohibits CHL holders from carrying handguns into buildings on public campuses. In order to respect the rights of property holders, Birdwell said that private universities would be able to decide whether or not to permit concealed carry on their campuses. Public universities would be permitted to set rules for storage of weapons and ammunition in dorms and other on campus residencies, which Birdwell said could include a total prohibition on keeping weapons in dorms. Restrictions against concealed carry off-campus already in law, such as in hospitals, bars and sporting events, would still apply to such locations on-campus. The bill was amended to disallow open carry on campus should Monday's open carry bill become law. The Senate will hold a final vote on the measure Thursday.
Also Wednesday, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee heard testimony for a bill that would give terminal patients faster access to potentially life-saving experimental treatments. Current federal law allows terminal patients to seek such treatments, but the process is long and arduous. "In these types of situations, time is the great predator," said Houston Senator Paul Bettencourt. His bill, SB 694, called the Right to Try act, would greatly streamline the process to seek experimental treatments for people with a terminal diagnosis. Doctors would not be obligated to prescribe the medication nor would insurance companies be obligated to pay for the treatments. The bill remains pending before the committee.
The Senate will reconvene Thursday, March 19 at 10 a.m.