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Entries in College Campuses (1)

Monday
Feb282011

Texas May Allow Concealed Handguns on College Campuses

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(AUSTIN, Texas) -- John Woods was three weeks away from college graduation in 2007 when his insulated academic world at Virginia Tech University was shattered by the bullets of a deranged gunman. Woods' girlfriend was one of 32 people who died the day Seung-Hui Cho took his handgun onto campus and began shooting at random.

Nearly four years later, Woods is now a graduate student at the University of Texas and the executive director of Students for Gun-Free Schools. As such, he has become one of the foremost advocates for gun control on college campuses and is now trying to defeat a proposal to allow Texas students to carry handguns on campus.

"If you bring guns into an environment that is safe, you elevate the risk level," Woods said. "We will run the risk of more small shootings, more crimes of passion."

But Texas is a state where the Second Amendment is the golden rule, and the proposal in the Texas State House would allow guns on campus for the same reason that Woods wants to keep them off -- to head off another tragic school shooting like the one that changed Virginia Tech.

"After seeing what happened at Virginia Tech, I decided I never wanted to see a repeat of that situation occur on a Texas campus," said state Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio. "So I introduced a bill to permit people who have licenses to carry weapons, take those weapons into campus buildings."

In the opening days of Texas' 82nd Legislature, Wentworth introduced his bill, which would allow concealed handgun license holders to bring their guns into university buildings. This bill is identical to the one he proposed during the last legislative session in 2009. The previous legislation passed in the Senate, but was never heard on the House floor because the legislature "ran out of time," Wentworth said.

Passage of this year's bill "looks pretty promising," he said. It has 14 co-sponsors in the Senate and more than half of the state's representatives have signed on to the House's version.

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