Contact Your Texas Lawmakers on this Important Issue Today!
Thank you for taking the time to take action on this important issue. Here are a few talking points you should consider when contacting your Texas lawmakers:
Guns are already allowed on most campuses. Individuals are not prohibited under state law from keeping guns in their cars parked on campus, whether or not they have CHLs. Universities and colleges may not enforce administrative policies against employees or students with CHLs who leave firearms stored in motor vehicles on campus. CHLs may legally carry on parking lots, walkways, sidewalks, and campus grounds; they just can't enter buildings under the control of a college or university.
Campuses are not "crime-free" zones. For example, the University of Houston Department of Public Safety reported 18 forcible sex offenses, 26 robberies, 60 thefts of motor vehicles and 200 burglaries occurring on the 667-acre campus from 2011-2013. Since the Legislature began debating this issue, high profile shootings and stabbings have occurred at the University of Texas at Austin, several blocks from the Texas A&M campus in College Station, and on Lone Star College's CyFair branch campus.
This is not precedent-setting. Nearly half the states that have passed concealed carry laws do not prohibit the possession of firearms by license holders on college & university campuses. Also, the Federal Gun-Free School Zones Act, which prohibits the possession of firearms within 1,000 ft of a school, exempts state license holders from the ban. While this federal statute only applies to elementary and secondary schools, Congress made a concrete policy decision to allow license holders to protect themselves in environments where students are educated.
This bill primarily affects adult faculty, staff, students & visitors who are 21 years of age or older (unless you are in the military), who have passed a state and federal criminal records check and who have completed classroom and range training. Skeptics of the legislation will argue that the proposal would purportedly create hordes of armed undergraduates. According to DPS, in 2014, less than 6% of the more than 246,000 licenses issued or renewed were to individuals between the ages of 21-25.
Concealed Handgun Licensees have not been a threat to state & local law enforcement, nor will they be to college & university police departments. Removing a geographical barrier won't cause CHLs to act less responsible or less law-abiding. Campus law enforcement officers question how they would differentiate between a CHL and a violent attacker in a response situation. That hasn't been a problem for their non-campus counterparts anywhere else in the state in the 20 years the law has been in effect, with more than 800,000 active licenses.
Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.