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Amid Bills and Debate, Another Campus Shooting

Texas Tribune

News of multiple gunshot victims at the North Houston campus of Lone Star College on Tuesday will likely weigh heavily on the minds of Texas lawmakers as they prepare to consider multiple bills relating to campus safety.

On Jan. 17, state Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, filed Senate Bill 182, which would allow concealed handgun license holders to carry weapons on college campuses. Debate over the legislation, carried in previous sessions by now-former state Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, has been heated, and the bill has not made it through the Senate.

While some argue that allowing guns would improve safety on campus, others say that the presence of weapons would have the opposite effect.

Such discussions are not limited to campuses of higher education. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst recently called for the state to fund firearm training for teachers in K-12 institutions.

Coincidentally, state Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, was already scheduled to hold a press conference on school safety initiatives on Tuesday afternoon.

It is too early to predict how Tuesday's incident will affect the fate of these initiatives, but it will undoubtedly play a role in the discussion — already a high profile issue following a year marked by shooting incidents around the country, including at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. — regarding whether guns should be allowed at academic institutions of all levels.

Reeve Hamilton has interned at The Nation and The Texas Observer, for which he covered the 2009 legislative session. Most recently, he was a desk assistant at The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. A Houston native, he has a bachelor's degree in English from Vanderbilt University.
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