Gun rights bills jump hurdle

AUSTIN (AP/KXAN) — Bills known as “campus carry” and “open carry” passed out of the Senate State Affairs Committee Thursday. They vote was along party lines, 7 to 2. Six out of the seven Republicans co-wrote the “Campus Personal Protection Act,” which would allow CHL holders to go inside college classrooms.

Weeks of tension over Texas gun rights shifted to the grind of lawmaking Thursday when more than 100 people waited under heightened security at the Capitol to testify on looser firearm laws that Republicans have prioritized under new Gov. Greg Abbott. State troopers arrested one man, and a gun control group said it brought an unarmed bodyguard in the wake of clashes and unease, including a January confrontation between a Democratic state representative and activists in his office that led to him having a security detail. But calm and order largely governed a Senate hearing over proposals to legalize concealed firearms on college campuses and open carry everywhere else. Despite its Wild West roots, Texas is one of only six states that prohibit gun owners from holstering handguns in full view.

That may change this legislative session, though. After nine hours of testimony, the committee voted 7 to 2 along partisan lines to approve both open and campus carry bills, likely fast-tracking them for a full Senate vote when lawmakers can begin passing bills next month. Read More…

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