AUSTIN, Texas - Campus carry is back. State lawmakers will consider a bill allowing students, faculty and staff with concealed handgun licenses to carry guns on the campus of public universities in Texas.
"I've filed this before and we're going to try it again because the affirmation of the right to self-preservation is ensconced in our U.S and state constitutions," said State Senator Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury. "These are public universities on public property and the state ought not be precluding a state constitutional right on state public property," added Birdwell.
The Campus Personal Protection Act also known as SB-11 received a low bill number from the Lt. Governor's office signaling the legislation is a priority according to Birdwell. It's the second time he's filed the bill and says the chances for the legislation are better this session. Birdwell has the support of 19 of his colleagues in the senate.
"It's a constitutional provision. It's not about the firearm but the right to self-preservation," said Birdwell.
The issue has been the center of passionate debates under the dome before and will likely be the case this session.
"Here we go again," said Frances Schenkkan, the chair of Texas Gun Sense. The group opposes the idea of campus carry and she's prepared to go back to the capitol.
"I think it's dangerous is our position. We have security forces on campus and people who are trained and have to keep up that training. That's not the situation for CHL holders. It's now easier to renew your permit and all of that makes for a pretty scary situation," said Schenkkan.
"Our CHL holders are one of the most law abiding sub demographics in the state. We're going to affirm that and their right," Birdwell responded.
While the debate plays out at the Capitol, students on the University of Texas campus have mixed feelings.
"I actually think it's a good idea and would help students protect themselves as long as they are taking the right classes," said Nick Virden, a senior.
"I feel that's not the best place to be carrying a weapon. I know it's a complicated subject but I'm personally against it," said Anna Aguilar, a graduate student.
"I feel like the issue it's good they are looking at it," said Jonathan Dror, a sophomore.
Birdwell hopes the bill reaches Governor Greg Abbott's desk.
"I think there's a very good chance but we don't make promises but I will pursue this with the rigor and passion I bring to the subject," said Sen. Birdwell.
To see the proposed bill, click here.