AUSTIN — Texas may be preparing to give college students and professors the right to carry guns on campus, adding momentum to a national campaign to open this part of society to firearms.
More than half the members of the Texas House have signed on as co-authors of a measure directing universities to allow concealed handguns. The Senate passed a similar bill in 2009 and is expected to do so again. Republican Gov. Rick Perry, who sometimes packs a pistol when he jogs, has said he’s in favor of the idea.
Bills are still in committee so nothing has come up for a House or Senate vote yet.
Texas has become a prime battleground for the issue because of its gun culture and its size, with 38 public universities and more than 500,000 students. It would become the second state, following Utah, to pass such a broad-based law. Colorado gives colleges the option and several have allowed handguns.
“There is no scenario where allowing concealed weapons on college campuses will do anything other than create a more dangerous environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors,” Oklahoma Chancellor of Higher Education Glen Johnson said in January.
University of Texas President William Powers has opposed concealed handguns on campus, saying the mix of students, guns and campus parties is too volatile.
The majority of adult Texans, 70 percent, surveyed in a poll in December and January opposed allowing guns on campus. The poll for The Dallas Morning News and other large newspapers in the state had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.
Guns on campus bills have been rejected in 23 states since 2007, but gun control activists acknowledge it will be difficult to stop the Texas bill from passing this year.
As for guns on campuses in Texas, I think they really should start with guns in preschool, it is never too early to shoot straight, I also think cars and buses should be replaced with horses and stage coaches.... let us truly go back to the wild west.