SEE UPDATE BELOW
This weekend I took my wife and 28 year old daughter to the firearms range. Next month they are taking the Texas concealed handgun license (CHL) class and will be “carrying” for the first time in their life. We shot five different handguns and both agreed that the Glock 26 would suit them best.
I’m very happy that they have decided to obtain their CHL. Too often when seconds count, law enforcement is minutes away. I know because I worked 32 years as a law enforcement officer. I will be passing my Glock 26 onto my wife so I’m going to purchase that Glock 36 (.45 ACP), which I have had my eye on for a while. More on that in a future entry!
Today, I am concerned about the fate of concealed carry on campus. Most students, are not going to arm themselves. The vast majority of college students, like my daughter who attended Texas State University, are either not eligible or not interested in obtaining a CHL. CHL holders must be 21 years of age.
Obtaining a CHL is far from “automatic”. Legislation already limits licenses to “qualified individuals”. A number of factors make people ineligible to obtain a license, including most misdemeanor convictions that are less than five years old, (including charges that resulted in probation or deferred adjudication), all felony convictions, any domestic violence conviction, pending criminal charges, chemical or alcohol dependency, certain psychiatric diagnoses, protective or restraining orders, or defaults on taxes, governmental fees, student loans or child support.
The Senate bill that would allow Texans to carry legally concealed handguns onto college and university campuses remains holstered as the sponsors still did not have the votes to secure passage. The college campus is a prime target for psychos, terrorists and common criminals because everyone knows that CHL holders are not allowed to “carry” on campus. This is good for them bad for everyone else on the campus.
Although 13 of the 31 senators are signed on as co-authors, Wentworth needs 21 votes to bring the bill to a vote. The San Antonio Republican has only 20 votes and needs 21, the required two-thirds in the Senate.
Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, said he was prepared to offer amendments allowing all colleges and universities to decide whether they want to allow guns in their buildings and also requiring the state to cover insurance rate increases for the schools that result from the new law.
Ellis said one school told him its liability insurance would go up by $1 million if the bill passed. Wentworth challenged that figure. As does anyone with a brain in their head. Opposition to this bill is another example of the spread of the progressive cancer that is eating away at liberty and freedom in our country.
“I think over the weekend members heard from a lot of people,” Ellis said. “I’ve heard from a number of parents in my office, and I bet they have, as well. So, I think the votes weren’t there last Thursday. You know, sometimes it’s good to have a cooling-off period, particularly when you’re talking about something as dangerous as a gun in the hand of a college student, many of whom have a problem with binge drinking and all other kinds of behavior that young people go through.”
Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville, said he wanted a provision that would exempt any college or university that has a primary or secondary school on its grounds.
Wentworth said last week he would add such an amendment, but Lucio wants the entire campus exempted.
Another opponent, Sen. Steve Ogden, said he was against the bill because it protected some universities and not others. The Bryan Republican represents Texas A&M University in College Station.
Wentworth’s bill would cover only public colleges and universities. Only concealed-handgun license holders would be allowed to bring pistols into campus buildings; they must be at least 21 and meet testing and other requirements.
Supporters of the bill say allowing concealed weapons on campus could help prevent another Virginia Tech-type massacre.
The Senate in 2009 passed a bill almost identical to the current one; a similar bill in the House this session has 85 co-authors.
Wentworth said he was not giving up, although “I don’t have a real clear crystal ball.”
Although the bill is in trouble, Ellis said, it is not dead. “This is always a very fluid place,” he said.
Contact your Texas State Senator and encourage them to support the protection of your children on campus.