Austin, TX (Texas Tribune) — More than a dozen gun bills came up for debate in the Texas House Saturday. Of those, ten advanced one step closer to final passage, including two high profile bills that address guns in schools.
Members of the Texas House largely breezed through a slew of gun bills Saturday that could change the conceal handgun licensing process, where CHL holders can carry, and how school kids are protected.
“When are children are being attacked, then and only then will these individuals have the authority to act as law enforcement,” said State Representative Jason Villalba, R-Dallas.
Villalba said the deadly shooting of 20 first graders last December in Connecticut led him to file House Bill 1009.
It would create a new law enforcement classification, the school marshal.
Modeled after the federal air marshal program, it would allow schools to designate and train at least one employee to conceal carry on campus.
“Unfortunately in this world of limited resources, we have to find a way to protect those schools that don’t otherwise have school resource officers,” said Villalba
Villalba’s tentatively passed with no real debate.
House Bill 972 by Representative Allen Fletcher, R-Cypress, would allow CHL holders to conceal carry and store their weapons on college and university campuses.
“It’s very inclusive about the fact that the universities can opt out or opt in. So they can make these rules on their own,” said Fletcher.
Like Villalba’s bill, Fletcher’s is not a mandate.
Both measures leave it up to the local school district or higher ed institution to enact the changes.
They’re pieces of legislation that still have to get final passage in the House, then pass in the Senate.
Lawmakers have filed a total of 100 gun bills this session.
The Texas Tribune has created an easy interactive to help you keep track of the different weapons legislation.