Texas governor to sign campus and open carry bills

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s office on Friday morning announced he would sign two bills expanding gun rights in the state.

Senate Bill 11 will allow for licensed holders to concealed carry their handguns on college campuses, including all buildings owned or leased by the universities, such as dormitories.

The other measure to accept the governor’s pen is House Bill 910, concerning the state’s open carry rights. Individuals licensed to carry a handgun will be able do so in public.    

The signing ceremony will be held at Red’s Indoor Range in Pflugerville on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

The University of Texas System voiced its concern against the passage of the campus carry bill, citing campuses unique situations that may not be ideal for guns.

Chancellor William H. McRaven told National Public Radio last week that colleges tend to be places of high stress and that guns on campuses across Texas won’t make them any safer.

“While I am a little disappointed that the bill passed, I’m also very appreciative that the state legislature has given us the latitude to take a look at where we allow guns on campus,” McRaven said.

Mike Newbern of Students for Concealed Carry told Guns.com during the NRA convention in April that Texas law only provides concealed carry licenses to those 21 years or older and prohibits the carrying of a firearm while consuming alcohol.

“And we already can carry concealed handguns off campus where all these parties are happening and we’re not shooting each other up in the streets, so I don’t understand how those things translate,” Newbern said.

Allied with urban police chiefs, the Texas chapter of gun control group Moms Demand Action voiced its concern over potentially having more guns in public, using the Waco biker shootout as an example.

“Open carry makes everyday confrontations potentially more dangerous and poses an unnecessary challenge on our law enforcement to determine in the heat of the event who is a good guy and who is a dangerous criminal,” the Moms group wrote in May.

Open carry groups said they’ve worked hard to make Texas the 45th open carry state and are pleased with the results.

“Our members have worked hard the past two years to make this happen,” Open Carry Texas President CJ Grisham told Guns.com in a statement after the open carry bill cleared the state Senate. “I cannot express in any adequate manner how proud I am to be a part of this great movement to bring more gun rights to Texas. We did it!”