AUSTIN, Texas — Texas already lets lawmakers bring guns into the Capitol. And the governor sometimes jogs with a loaded pistol. But should people be allowed to carry concealed weapons onto college campuses?
Gun advocates argue that doing so could help put a quick end to threats like the one posed by a University of Texas student who fired several rounds from an assault rifle Tuesday before killing himself.
Under current law, college buildings in Texas are gun-free zones. But that did not stop Colton Tooley from darting along a street near the university's clock tower Tuesday, shooting off an AK-47. He then entered a library and shot himself. No one else was hurt.
Police had no evidence Tooley was targeting anyone, but there was plenty of discussion Wednesday about how much worse the bloodshed could have been — and how to ensure that scenario never happens.
"There are already guns on campus. All too often they are illegal," Republican Gov. Rick Perry said. "I want there to be legal guns on campus. I think it makes sense — and all of the data supports — that if law abiding, well-trained, backgrounded individuals have a weapon, then there will be less crime."
Perry's Democratic challenger, Bill White, said he supports the state law that lets people with licenses carry concealed handguns. But he wants schools to decide whether to allow guns on campus.
Texas enacted a concealed handgun law in 1995, allowing people 21 and older to carry weapons if they pass a training course and a background check.
Businesses, schools and churches can set rules banning guns on their premises. On college campuses, guns are prohibited in buildings, dorms and certain grounds around them.