The same day the Texas Senate passed a bill to loosen state handgun regulations, a House committee Tuesday considered proposals to allow the open carry of handguns with a license and the concealed carry of handguns on college campuses.
The House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety listened to public testimony on House Bill 937 by state Rep. Allen Fletcher, R-Cypress, which would allow students to carry concealed handguns on a college campus, and House Bill 910 by Committee Chairman Larry Phillips, R-Sherman, which would allow concealed handgun license owners to openly carry a handgun in public.
The committee did not vote on either bill.
An open carry bill similar to House Bill 910 was tentatively approved by the Senate 20 to 11 on Monday after several hours of debate. On Tuesday, the Senate gave the bill final approval and sent it to the House.
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A University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll last month found a large majority of Texans are opposed to open carry with or without a license.
At a Capitol hearing Tuesday, Suzanna Gratia Hupp, a former state representative, spoke in favor of the campus gun measure. Hupp, a Republican whose parents were killed in the 1991 mass shooting at Luby’s restaurant in Killeen, was an advocate for concealed carry during her time as a lawmaker.
“If I’m a madman that wants to rack up a big body-bag count and beat the last guy’s body-bag count, I’m not going to go to an NRA convention or the dreaded gun show,” she said. “I’m going to go where the Legislature has said people can’t protect themselves.”
Grace Chimene, a board member of the League of Women Voters of Texas, testified against both bills.
“College students and professors should have complete freedom of speech to express opinions during lectures without the intimidation that is present when guns are in the room,” Chimene said.