Senator tries again on campus concealed weapons
POSTED: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - 5:51pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - 9:51pm
AUSTIN — A Republican senator made another run at allowing concealed handguns into Texas college classrooms, a move that was delayed again Wednesday just when it appeared the votes and Senate rules were on his side to push it through.
Unable to muster the 21 votes needed to pass the bill on its own, Sen. Jeff Wentworth of San Antonio tried to amend the concealed weapons provision to make it part of another senator's bill that gives Texas universities more flexibility to deal with budget cuts.
By doing that, Wentworth needs only 16 votes in the Republican-majority 31-member Senate. Wentworth says he's got 20.
But the move also angered the Democratic sponsor of the bill Wentworth is trying to change. Sen. Judith Zaffirini, chairwoman of the Senate Higher Education Committee, opposes the concealed weapons provision and postponed further consideration of her bill until Thursday at the earliest.
Zaffirini said she's willing to kill her bill to stop the concealed weapons provision. Zaffirini said Wentworth didn't ask her permission or warn her before trying to amend her bill.
"It was a total shock," Zaffirini said.
Wentworth's bill would allow Texas concealed license holders to carry handguns into college classrooms and other buildings. Advocates call it a self-defense measure and a gun rights issue. The bill has met fierce resistance from higher education officials who worry guns would lead to more campus violence and suicides.