The Texas House of Representatives tentatively passed a bill Tuesday that allows concealed handguns to be carried in classrooms and on public college campuses, just minutes before the bill’s midnight deadline.
The bill was pushed through after hours of debate, with an attempt by some to delay the bill beyond it’s midnight deadline, according to this story on IBITimes.com. The debates ended when House Speaker Joe Straus called for a vote. The bill was granted initial approval.
Currently, Texans can carry concealed on university grounds, but this bill would expand that to dorms, classrooms, cafeterias, and other areas currently off-limits.
The bill, titled Senate Bill 11, passed with a 101-47 vote about 20 minutes before the deadline, according to this story in the New York Daily News.
One amendment that was added to the bill would allow private universities to opt out of the program, but not public universities, though the latter can specify on which areas of their campuses concealed handguns will be allowed. Guns will also remain banned from campus hospitals and sporting events.
In Texas, carry licenses are only issued to residents who are 21 and older, so most of Texas’ college students would still be prevented from legally carrying.
Still, some higher education leaders in the state opposed the bill. University of Texas System Chancellor William McRaven said he worries it would make Texas schools “less competitive” by scaring away prospective students and possibly raising tuitions to help deal with more guns on campus.