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Pro-Gun Bills Expected to Move From Texas House to Senate

Veronica Zaragovia for KUT

In recent days, Texas state senators have expressed opposition to passing bills this session to expand where Texans can carry their concealed handguns – places like college campuses.

But on Saturday, House members passed a number of gun-friendly bills, including one that would make it easier to bring concealed handguns into campus buildings – classrooms included. House Bill 972, by State Rep. Allen Fletcher, R-Cypress, says colleges and universities are not “crime-free zones.”

"I did not file this bill so that concealed handgun licensed could be heroes in mass shooting situations. Those tragic events are thankfully extremely rare," Rep. Fletcher said.

But when they happen, he says, law enforcement may not have enough time to get to the campus.

The bills didn’t face much opposition until House Bill 1076 came up. The measure, by State Rep. Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands, would bar state agencies from enforcing federal laws against semi-automatic weapons. State Rep. Chris Turner, D- Grand Prairie, says it would let the Texas Attorney General use taxpayer dollars to challenge the federal government.

He says the time spent on gun bills Saturday could have been used for tackling water and roadway needs and money for public education.

"So I think there are plenty of questions Texans could ask of their legislators: why we’re spending time on this kind of political theater rather than the real issues that matter to their families," Rep. Turner said.

In the meantime, final House passage of the gun bills could come today, before they're sent to the Texas Senate.