Monday, April 20, 2009

Concealed Carry on College Campus - Texas House Bill Update

When I reported that we were One Step Closer to Campus Carry, the committee substitute for the bill that had been sent on to the Calendars Committee had not yet been published. That was taken care of last week.

The "As Introduced" version of HB 1893 can be found here. The "Committee Substitute" that has been sent on to Calendars can be found here. (both files are .pdf).

The changes to the bill basically accomplish two things.

First, the changed bill allows private or independent institution of higher education to set their own policies concerning allowing CHL holders to carry firearms on campus.

Second, the changes grant certain immunities against liability for campuses that do allow licensed concealed carry.

I am going to cover the first change, allowing private or independent institution of higher education to set their own policies concerning allowing CHL holders to carry firearms on campus.

Here is the text from the bill:

(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.
I understand that this verbiage was inserted to satisfy the private property rights crowd. This change is not as it appears at first glance. Basically it puts private or independent institutions of higher education on the same footing as private businesses, with a couple of very important differences.

Most noticeable is the fact that a private business does not have to consult with its employees before establishing rule and regulations that prohibit license holders from carrying handguns on company property.

The next difference between a private or independent institution of higher education, and a private business, can be determined from an earlier paragraph in the bill:

(c) Except as provided by Subsection (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.
Okay now, this is a test of your Texas CHL law legalese. Do you see where a CHL holding employee of a private or independent college will be treated different than an employee of a private business under current law?

I'll let you think about it for awhile before I post the answer in the comments.

Note: PC 30.06 was brought up in comments to an earlier post. If a college decides to prohibit CHL holders from carrying firearms in the buildings of that facility, that college would still be required to inform CHL holders of that fact via PC 30.06.

Note #2: Two co-sponsors of HB 1893 have changed their minds and have dropped off of the bill.

Representative Fred Brown from Bryan and College Station (District 14) and Representative Ismael 'Kino' Flores the Mission, Hidalgo and Pharr area (District 36) are no longer supporting campus carry. If you are in their districts, you just might want to give them a call and let them know your thoughts on this issue. Remember to be polite, professional and stead fast in your communications.


Old NFO said...

Well done post, and an excellent "translation". Thanks!

JT said...

Most noticeable is the fact that a private business does not have to consult with its employees before establishing rule and regulations that prohibit license holders from carrying handguns on company property.According to the paragraph, the colleges also have to consult with their students (aka their customers) - which other private businesses also don't have to do.

Re: legalese question

Is it the gap that the passage of this bill would create between employees of colleges and employees of other businesses, assuming the parking lot bill doesn't pass? The passage of the college bill would prohibit colleges from restricting their licensed employees from carrying or storing, where as of now other private employers can still prohibit their licensed employees from storing in their cars.

Do I get an "A" or am I getting held back? :-)

John R said...

You get an A+ there JT.

That is why the definition of "premises" is so important in Texas CHL legislation.

""Premises" means a building or a portion of a building. The term does not include any public or private driveway, street, sidewalk or walkway, parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area."

So, with this bill as written, while a private or independent college can restrict CHL holders from carrying on the "premises", they can not restrict CHL carried handguns on the "campus".

TXGunGeek said...

Just so happens I am in Rep Browns District. Just sent this off to him.

Rep. Brown,
I am disconcerted by your lack of support for the campus carry bill HB1893. As my representative, I would ask that you consider the law abiding CHL holders that work for Texas A&M University and whom you also represent. You are saying by your actions, that you do not trust that people who have been through the extremely rigorous background check and training process required for obtaining a Texas CHL. There is ample evidence to show that Texas CHL holders are more trust worthy than the general population based on rates of conviction for misdemeanor and felony offenses. Do you really wish to say to those you represent that you do not trust them? Is there some imaginary line surrounding college campuses that make normally lawful people freak out and turn them into killers? You are forcing those who would otherwise be responsible for their own safety to give up that CIVIL RIGHT and creating an open killing field for deranged killers who would otherwise risk facing an armed potential victim.

I therefore ask that you truly represent those who elected you and support this bill.

Best Regards,

TXGunGeek said...

Got a canned response from one of his staffers. Have posted it on my blog.

John R said...

My Rep, Dr. Diane Patrick, has not taken a position on the issue. I keep trying. Short notes with different bullets each time.

John R said...

Great job on the letter there TXGunGeek.

Unknown said...

UTA is having the Empty Holster Protest this week and we are going to bombard Diane Patrick's office with signatures, letters, notes, ect. We hope to get her to sway to the pro side.

TXGunGeek said...

So, I have responded to his response and gotten a reply form his chief of staff. Not answers to my questions but a personal response. I replied to that and will see if I can get real answers to my questions. Will publish when I get them.

TXGunGeek said...

So, I talked to Fred Brown last night. Post with is explanation and my thoughts is up at:

Anonymous said...

This is from the SGA president of the University of Houston. He is against concealed carry on campus and the student government is going to try to pass a bill saying no to concealed carry.

"Good morning fellow Cougars,

The Texas Legislature is considering Texas House Bill 1893 - Carrying on Campus, which would limit the ability of any public university to restrict licensed handgun owners from carrying concealed handguns on any public university campus within the state of Texas.

Such a bill is relevant to all students at the University of Houston because campus safety and security are top priorities. Therefore we must all engage in this debate and your opinion matters.

The SGA Senate will be debating this issue at its next session on Wednesday, April 29, 2009, at 7:00 p.m. in the UC Underground Mediterranean Room.

To read the bill in question as it would appear in the state legislature log on to;"

JT said...

I would love to be involved in that debate (ain't gonna happen, I'm in San Antonio), and I hope there are some pro-carry folks who will attend so it's not an echo chamber for this SGA president. If I had any influence or participation in such an event, the order in which I'd bring up issues would be thus:
1) Is Concealed Carry in general OK?
2) Is Concealed Carry on campus (by licensed CHLs) in particular OK?

If the answer to #1 is no (to a person or to a body of people), then they probably will say no to #2, and with the same reasons - that's to be expected.

If the answer to #1 is YES, then saying no to #2 (and justifying it with reason) becomes a much harder thing to do, and that's where this kind of debate can be very interesting. Opponents of campus carry who are fine with carry off-campus would need to justify the arbitrary restriction that currently exists re: campus carry - and it's probably something they're not very well-equipped to do.

TXGunGeek said...

The A&M Student paper had editorials today with both sides. Along with two full pages of Mexican drug related violence and a notice that the student senate has voted to call for a general vote by the students on Carry on Campus. The Anti side of the editorial was by a journalism major who basically read off the VPC and Brady cut sheets about CHL in general and blood on the streets and the usual anti CHL claptrap. The pro side was presented by a Marine who has returned to school and is a CHL and included FACTS that supported his argument. I can only hope tha the journalism major one day grows up and begins to think like an adult for himself instead of reading misinformation from someone else.

Unknown said...

It's all well and good that we are getting support out for the House version of the bill, but the Senate version (S.B. 1164) is still in committee- and it may very well die there. Right now S.B. 1164 is in the Senate State Affairs Committee. The chairman of the committee is Call senator Robert Duncan (512) 463-0128. Call him and tell him that you don't want this bill dying in committee. the other members of the committee are:

John Carona (512) 463-0116
Rodney Ellis (512) 463-0113(DEMOCRAT!)
Troy Fraser (512) 463-0124
Chris Harris (512) 463-0109
Mike Jackson (512) 463-0111
Eddie Lucio (512) 463-0127(DEMOCRAT!)
Leticia Van de Putte (512) 463-0126(DEMOCRAT!)

Remind them that the house version already passed 5 to 3 from the House Public Safety Committee and a large portion of the House (i believe 75 or so) are already in support of this bill.

There are still more battles to be won, don't get bogged down in just one of them.

John R said...

Yes, SB 1164 is still in committee.

If you do a quick search of the blog, you might find that I have covered SB 1164 also.

As it sits today, the House bill is the one most likely to get on the calendar before the drop dead date.

Brian said...

HB 1893 was just put on the calendar. The Calendar Committee finally considered it yesterday and though the minutes of the meeting haven't yet been posted, the bill's listing at bill look-up is now listed as "Placed on General State Calendar" for 5/11/09.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention. UH SGA said they do not support the HB and SB of concealed carry on campus. It was a close vote 14-11. To me that is a failure of a resolution since the student body and the SGA is not resolute.

There was overwhelming support for concealed carry by students and other interested parties at the SGA meeting. The meetings usually last 1 or 2 hours. With all the people talking it ran well into the middle of the night.