Texas Representative-Elect David Simpson’s term hasn’t even begun and already he’s firing shots across the bow of the anti-carry cabal.
Last week, Simpson “pre-filed” a house bill that would legally permit all students, staff, faculty and visitors to Texas college campuses to carry concealed handguns, owing properly licensed by the state of Texas (including CCWs recognized by Texas) and they are at least 21. This bill is the most recent interjection in what has become a heated discourse on the constitutionality and safety of concealed carry on US college campuses, a debate that extends well beyond the Lone Star State’s borders (notably Colorado).
Simpson explains that part of the rationale for such a bill lies in the University of Texas at Austin incident last September. “This [concealed carry] enables individuals to protect themselves, quickly, when seconds count,” said Simpson. “I’d hate to see a Virginia Tech type incident occur here in Texas.”
But he doesn’t ascribe all his motivations to the UT gunman. “The real question is, should we take away some individuals’ rights to protect themselves, and I say, no,” said Simpson and primarily he maintains the universality of the Second Amendment. This of course would include college campuses.
Wandering into deeper controversy, in its current form, the bill would also allow licensed carriers to extrapolate their carry privileges onto any grounds or buildings where any university-sponsored events take place (for example if the university held an event at a hotel conference center, took a field trip to a museum or government building in the district or held class at a hospital). Also unique to Simpson’s initiative is that this bill would prohibit colleges and universities from implementing their own private rules or policies that may prohibit concealed carry on their campuses.
President of Kilgore College Bill Holda, whose campus is just one of the educational institutions within Simpson’s district, said he favors protecting Second Amendment rights, but called Simpson’s bill “ill-advised.”
“I think it’s a bad idea. It’s easy to pass a rule and say, ‘we’re going to create access,’ but living with that rule and managing [it]–actual implementation is another issue,” Holda contemplated.
According an East Texas News source, reactions among the student population (and potential students) has been mixed.