On March 14, 2013 the House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety had left the bill "pending in committee". Despite an immense amount of favorable testimony, the committee was reluctant to bring the bill to a floor vote.
When word of the intent to let the bill die without a floor vote, second amendment advocates began a grassroots campaign requesting the bill get proper consideration.
The bill was amended several times over the past few weeks.
HB 972 and it's identical companion bill in the Texas Senate, SB 182, would, if passed, allow students, faculty members and visitors with legal concealed carry licenses to carry their firearms on college campuses. The Senate concealed carry bill has remained in The Senate Committee on Criminal Justice chambers since January 2013.
The Texas Senate has just a few short weeks left to vote on both versions of the Campus Carry bill in order to get it passed during the 83rd legislative session.
Key Provisions of the Campus Carry Bill
The Campus Carry bill allows for concealed license holders to carry on college campuses, public or private, with certain limitations.
(b) A license holder may carry a concealed handgun on or about the license holder's person while the license holder is on the campus of an institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education in this state.
The institutions themselves are allowed to regulate and restrict where on campus firearms may be stored, including dormitories and fraternity houses:
(d) An institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education in this state may establish rules, regulations, or other provisions concerning the storage of handguns in dormitories or other residential facilities that are owned or leased and operated by the institution and located on the campus of the institution.
They cannot, however, create their own regulations concerning concealed carry licenses or appropriate use of lethal force:
(c) Except as provided by Subsection (d) or (e), an institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education in this state may not adopt any rule, regulation, or other provision prohibiting license holders from carrying handguns on the campus of the institution.
Private institutions can adjust the rules on their private property with proper consultation and the posting of legal notifications:
(e) A private or independent institution of higher education in this state, after consulting with students, staff, and faculty of the institution, may establish rules, regulations, or other provisions prohibiting license holders from carrying handguns on premises that are owned or leased and operated by the institution and located on the campus of the institution.The full engrossed version of the House Campus Carry bill passed to the senate is available here.
Other Campus Carry Bills
The state senate passed SB 1907 in April. Falling short of Campus Carry, SB 1907 allows for individuals with concealed carry permits to lock their firearms and ammunition in their vehicles on college campuses. Concealed Carry License holders may also transport their firearms and ammunition on campus as long as they remain locked in their vehicles.
Second Amendment advocates similar to Students for Concealed Carry questioned the bill. It seemed a poor compromise that would do little to nothing in helping law-abiding citizens to protect themselves from violent crimes on college campuses.