Texas is often held up as a model state in many public policy areas.
We are hoping Oklahoma lawmakers don’t follow Texas’ lead in passing measures that would specifically allow concealed handgun license holders to carry guns on college campuses.
The Texas Senate approved such a bill this week. It’s headed to the Texas House, where there appears to be similar support. If approved and signed by Gov. Rick Perry, Texas would become the second state to allow students and faculty members with licenses to carry weapons into classrooms. Only Utah currently allows such a practice.
It’s all being done in the name of campus safety. Some legislators think campuses would be safer if guns were allowed to be carried.
The Texas legislation comes the same week some Oklahoma lawmakers were agreeing to allow a bill out of conference committee that allows students, faculty and staff to leave weapons secured in their vehicles while parked at career-tech campuses.
Both the Oklahoma and Texas legislation advances, while administrators, faculty members, students and law enforcement authorities have spoken out against the legislation.
“I’m a supporter of the Second Amendment, but, at the same time, I don’t think this is the place for it,” said Phil Berkenbile, the director of Oklahoma’s Department of Career and Technology Education. “Ask our opinion. There’s not an educator in our career-tech centers, there’s not an educator in our sending schools and there’s not a law enforcement officer that I’ve talked to that’s in favor of this bill. That ought to tell us something.”
Arizona’s governor last month vetoed a bill that would allowed guns on college campuses. Oklahoma’s chancellor of higher education has managed to beat back a proposal to allow students to carry concealed weapons on college and university campuses. Presidents of all 25 state institutions of higher education also have opposed the proposal.