Debates Continues Over Concealed Firearms on College Campus

A fierce debate has swept up Texas college campuses following a fatal shooting in a small California college earlier this year. Proponents of gun control argue that college campuses should be gun-free zones. Gun advocates say armed students would provide better individual and collective defense against attacks. The Texas legislature is pondering a bill to allow concealed firearms in public university campuses and buildings.

Students for Concealed Carry, an organization that promotes legal carrying of firearms on campuses, recently wore empty holsters at a rally to demonstrate the importance of guns for student self-defense. While advocates say gun carry laws would combat the admittedly rare occurrence of campus shootings, they also argue that guns on campuses would discourage much more common attacks, muggings and rapes.

Legislature Considers Bill

Some Texas legislators are pushing for a bill that would allow firearms on college grounds. Gun owners would still be subject to other laws restricting the purchase and use of firearms. A similar bill nearly passed two years ago until concerns over insurance costs dampened support for the gun carry law.

Texas Gun Laws

Texas law sets forth rules for the purchase, registration and use of firearms. Purchasers who wish to carry concealed handguns must first apply for a permit and are subject to limitations on where they may carry firearms. For example, under current law, handgun owners cannot carry firearms into government courts, bars, public events, school grounds, hospitals, nursing homes, religious grounds, and other events and locations. The Texas Department of Public Safety must conduct a criminal history check on gun carry applicants and process applications within 60 days. Licenses last approximately five years and must be renewed.

No one may sell, rent, loan or give a handgun to anyone who is intoxicated, intends to use it unlawfully or is under the age of 18, and lacks written parental consent. A "plain view" law restricts handguns to concealed locations in vehicles. Those accused of violating gun laws may be subject to fines and penalties.

If you or a family member is involved in a gun-related crime, consider contacting a criminal defense attorney to ensure that your rights are protected. An attorney can advise you of your legal rights and put together an effective defense based on the specifics of the charges against you.