Four bills that would ease restrictions on the carrying of concealed weapons on college and university campuses were debated Thursday in the House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety.
The bills — House Bill 972 by Rep. Allen Fletcher, R-Cypress; House Bill 1313 by Rep. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe; House Bill 1078 by Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt, R-Lexington; and House Bill 706 by Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake — were all heard by the committee at once and inspired hours of public testimony. For many lawmakers and witnesses involved in the proceedings, the excercise may have seemed very similar to hearings from previous sessions.
The issue has been a flashpoint in recent sessions. So far, the opponents of campus carry have prevailed, though this session could be different. Meanwhile, the arguments have changed very little — as evidenced by a letter University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa issued earlier this week reiterating his opposition to the proposals using much of the same language he used in a 2011 letter.
The committee, chaired by state Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, did not vote on the bills on Thursday.
Here is a Storify presentation with a handful of tweets from reporters showing the points made by both sides, the atmosphere in the room and the context of the bills.