Six years after Texas passed a controversial measure allowing licensed gun owners to carry concealed handguns on college campuses, one Republican state lawmaker is pushing to expand the law by allowing licensed adults to carry weapons in public and charter schools. The bill’s staunchly pro-gun author, state Sen. Bob Hall, sees the move as a logical extension of Texas’ campus carry law, which passed in 2015 over the passionate pleas of Democrats, gun control advocates and some university officials who feared increased violence. Hall’s bill is one of several addressing school safety this session, with other lawmakers seeking to expand the state’s school marshal program, which lets trained school teachers and support staff carry guns on campuses. Gov. Greg Abbott has endorsed that program, and the Legislature has expanded it in previous years.
Guns took center stage in 2015, when the Legislature allowed licensed Texans to openly carry handguns in public and moved to ‘harden’ schools in the wake of mass shootings elsewhere, like the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. After stalling in a House committee, proponents scrambled to pass a watered down version of the campus carry bill — deemed a priority by the upper chamber — in the session’s final hours. Critics who defeated the bill in previous years were stunned. [full article]