POSTED: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 4:51pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 9:59am
AUSTIN, Texas — Two months ago, Texas looked ready to allow concealed handguns in college classrooms. Lawmakers lined up to sponsor a bill, pistol-packing Gov. Rick Perry supported it and gun control activists had all but conceded defeat.
Then students and administrators from the state's universities mobilized in opposition, swaying two Democratic lawmakers who had supported the bill. Without them, the bill's sponsor hasn't had enough support to get a vote in the state Senate. Two attempts in the past week have failed, and the measure is now struggling to survive in a state that usually embraces guns and their mythical connection to the old West.
The effort to allow concealed handgun license holders to bring their weapons into college classrooms turned into a national issue after a gunman killed 32 people at Virginia Tech in 2007, the largest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Supporters said they wanted to give students a chance to shoot back.
But dozens of states — including Texas — rejected bills allowing concealed carry on campuses before Republicans swept elections in November and gave the measures new life. Arizona recently passed a bill allowing license holders to carry handgun