By: Trevor Frank
Texas could soon see a big change in its current gun laws now that a senate committee has passed two controversial bills to enhance Texans gun rights.
The idea of a college campuses allowing its students and faculty to be armed with concealed handguns at any and all times sounds a bit like a scary dream to some.
However last week, after a long day of debate and public testimony, the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee voted to recommend that the Texas State Senate pass the controversial open-carry, and campus carry bills.
Senate Bill 17, or the Open Carry bill, would give gun owners who are licensed the option to carry their handgun either concealed or openly.
The other bill at stake is Bill 11, or the campus carry bill, which would allow any concealed handgun license holder to carry a concealed handgun on any public Texas college campus, so as long as it is concealed.
The possibility of a campus that permits anyone to be armed with concealed handguns raises some questions with university police departments across the state as to what precautions and steps the police department will take to ensure the safety of all students and faculty.
Texas State University Police Department Captain Daniel Benitez says the main concern is making sure students are educated about the risks and trained properly.
“Were taking precautions now as to what do we need to do as a police department that educate our students that are going to be number one, qualified to carry a concealed weapon, and offer classes offer some type of training at that time for students who would want to seek that,” said Benitez.
Captain Benitez also points out that additional training for officers may be necessary when it comes to how they respond to an active shooter.
“Training for our officers would come into effect as well, as to how we respond to active shooter calls and how were gonna respond to that,” said Benitez. “As of right now it doesn’t seem like we’re changing any protocol as to how were gonna respond and how we’re answer the building and what that entails is how are we going to make sure that if we a concealed handgun holder and an active shooter how are we going to respond to those situations that arise.”
Both bills are in a sense an expansion of Texas’ current regulations for concealed handgun licenses.
Currently under Texas Law a person with a valid concealed handgun license may carry a pistol or revolver on their person so long as it is concealed and they may also carry any long gun such as a shotgun or rifle, unconcealed so as long as they are carried in a manner not calculated to cause alarm.
Now that the Texas State Affairs Committee has voted in favor of this these bills they will now head to the full senate for a final vote.