Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Last Week I...

...reported that we were One Step Closer to Campus Carry. HB 1893, a bill "Relating to the carrying of concealed handguns on the campuses of institutions of higher education", had made it through the House Public Safety Committee.

What I did not know at the time was that the bill did not get through the committee as introduced, there was a committee substitute. Here we are seven days later and the committee substitute has not been posted on the Texas Legislature Online website. The minutes of the committee meeting have been posted, so we can see how the voting went:
HB 1893

The chair laid out HB 1893 as pending business.

The chair recognized Representative Driver to explain the measure.

Representative Driver offered a complete committee substitute.

The committee substitute was adopted without objection.

Representative Burnam offered an amendment to the committee substitute.

The amendment was withdrawn without objection.

(Representative Mallory Caraway now present.)

Representative King, Phil moved that HB 1893, as substituted, be reported favorably to the full house with the recommendation that it do pass and be printed. The motion prevailed by the following record vote:

Ayes: Representatives Merritt; Frost; Driver; King, Phil; Lewis (5).

Nays: Representatives Burnam; Mallory Caraway; Rodriguez (3).

Present, Not Voting: None (0).

Absent: Representative Vo (1).
Note that Representative Hubert Vo was absent for this vote. Rep. Vo (from Houston) left the meeting before his vote could be tallied.

The fact that Representative Joe Driver did not object to the committee substitute indicates that the changes did not adversely affect the bill to any major extent.

The TSRA reports that the substitute:

The committee substitute for HB 1893 contains language de-criminalizing the carrying of a handgun by a CHL on the campus of either a public or private institution of higher education. It also prevents public or private colleges and universities from adopting and enforcing administrative sanctions against faculty, employees and students who are CHLs that carry on campus -- except that the governing bodies of private institutions may adopt administrative rules and regulations affecting carrying by CHLs in buildings only (not parking lots or grounds) after consulting with faculty, staff and students.
The exemption for private universities is disappointing. The fact that a hearing must be held prior to that exemption is a plus. That is our opportunity to make the university state, on the record, their obligation to protect the lives and well being of each and every individual on campus property. Their lawyers are not going to like that one bit.

The Senate version of the Campus Carry bill remains unchanged. We still have a slim chance of getting the introduced version of this bill to a vote. The Senate version is in the State Affairs Committee.

5 comments:

JT said...

Re: the exemption for private universities

I wonder why HB 1893 wouldn't just refer to 30.06 as the method by which a private university could set up its own "you can carry here but not there" rules. Seems to me that it'd make sense and would keep things simple legally-speaking. A private university is just a business, same as 24-Hour Fitness, right? Give them money (and get "accepted"), they give you access. 30.06 seems like a good fit to me.

Bob S. said...

JT,

Given the size, number of buildings, and other problems; I could see why 30.06 signs wouldn't work.

Many universities have open campuses where there are meeting areas, sitting areas outside of buildings but on campus that would make it impractical to place signs.

JT said...

Hi Bob -

Sorry, I wasn't clear/specific. I was going off of the quote which specifically mentioned:
"except that the governing bodies of private institutions may adopt administrative rules and regulations affecting carrying by CHLs in buildings only (not parking lots or grounds) after consulting with faculty, staff and students."

So since (at least according to the TSRA report from which that quote comes) restricting carry in the open areas is off-limits, 30.06 would seem a logical fit for restricting buildings (particular ones or each & every, as the governing bodies saw fit I suppose).

The only thing I can think of is that they wanted to allow the universities to post whatever kinds of notices they deemed fit (or possibly none at all, as long as the policy is communicated somehow?) rather than have to follow the strict guidelines of 30.06. Which, now that I'm thinking more about it, seems like it would be a burden on CHLs walking into another business looking for 30.06 signs, but then walking into a college campus building and not knowing what kind of sign to look for, or if carry was restricted but not posted.

JR said...

Here is the text from the committee substitute:

"(e)A private or independent institution of higher education in this state may, after consulting with students, staff, and faculty of the institution, establish rules, regulations, or other provisions prohibiting license holders from carrying handguns on premises that are owned or operated by the institution and located on the campus of the institution. For purposes of this subsection, "premises" has the meaning assigned by Section 46.035,
Penal Code."

If the "private or independent institution of higher education" holds hearings and decides to prohibit CHL holders from carrying a firearm on campus, the institution would still have to provide proper notification to the CHL holder that concealed firearms are prohibited. They would have to comply with 30.06.

This change satisfies the private property rights crowd. I personally do not include business property in my definition of "private" property.

JT said...

Huh. It's interesting that the bill would require a private institution to "jump through more hoops" than other private businesses in order to justify putting up a 30.06 sign - a college's owners & operators (board, etc.?) would have to consult with its students (customers), staff & faculty (employees) before putting up any 30.06 signs. The local mom-and-pop watch repair store needs to do nothing of the sort - the owner just puts up the sign if he wants to. That's the part that seemed weird to me, and I mistakenly read it as a replacement of 30.06 rather than an additional requirement on the institution's use of 30.06.

I personally do not include business property in my definition of "private" property.There's certainly a whole huge conversation around those definitions that I'm sure we don't want to go into here - suffice to say that if every party rigorously agreed on definitions (A means X and B means Y) at the outset of any debate on the subject and abide by the Call The Same Thing The Same Thing maxim, these discussions would go ever so much more smoothly. IMO of course.