Monday, June 01, 2015
TX: Campus Carry Passes; now to Governor Abbott
The campus carry bill passed the last hurdles in the Texas House and Texas Senate today, 31 May, 2015. The bill was significantly altered during the debates in the House and in the conference committee, primarily because it was held up in the House calendars committee until near the end of the legislative session. This gave the minority of House Democrats leverage to insert restrictive amendments as a trade off to running out the clock.
House Speaker Joe Straus is widely given responsibility for control of the Calendars committee; he appointed the members, who are seen as Straus loyalists. In 2013, Straus gathered 11 Republicans and at least 65 Democrats to seize the Speaker's position. In 2015 Straus was elected to the Speakership with only 19 opposing votes, though Wikipedia states that it was the first recorded vote for speaker since 1976. Speaker Straus has great control over what bills pass, and what bills die in committee. In his first term as speaker, it is reported that more Democrat bills become law than Republican bills.
The campus carry bill, SB11 is expected to be signed by Governor Abbot in a few days, but the provisions of the law will not go into effect until August 1, 2016 for four year colleges, and August 1, 2017 for Junior colleges.
SB 11 allows officers in colleges to create rules and regulations for the concealed carry of handguns by license holders. Those have to be presented to the governing body, such as a Board of Reagents. This language was added in the conference committee, and seems to dilute the effect of SB 11 even more than the House amendments, which did not give administrative officers in colleges this power, but required a 2/3 vote by governing bodies.
It is hard to be sure exactly how the law well come out, as I have yet to see a final version of the text that will be sent to Governor Abbott. It is a win for second amendment supporters. A Texasguntalk forum member said that it was a "toe in the door".
Open carry is still prohibited on college campuses.
30.06 signs will be required where concealed carry by license holders is forbidden.
The passage of campus carry seems almost a by-product of the social movement to restore second amendment rights know as "open carry".
The movement became the strongest social movement in Texas since the Civil Rights era, as over 2,500 open carry marches were organized and conducted all around Texas. The movement created activists that defeated many Republicans and some Democrats, leading to the supermajorities of Republicans in the House and the Senate, and to the landslide victory of conservative Republicans around the state.
Activists eagerly watched the play by play of State politics on live feed over the internet, and were outraged at each motion and vote that they saw as vindication of their mistrust of politicians and the legislative process. With each vote and procedure, the phone lines and email servers lit up with activists applying pressure to their representatives and senators.
I am convinced that it was grass roots activism that pushed this bill through, as flawed as it finally was. The education that those activists received during this legislative session will not go away. It is all recorded for posterity, and it will have effects on the next election cycle and the next legislative session. A powerful political force has been created, and will have effects on Texas politics for decades.
©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch