House approves guns on campus, school marshals bills
KHOU: House lawmakers passed a measure Saturday to allow armed school employees in school districts and charter schools, and they also passed another bill that would allow college students to carry a weapon in the classroom.
John Woods is a graduate student at The University of Texas, he’s spending his Saturday studying for finals and grading papers. “It’s not an issue I really ever planned to become involved with,” he said.
Woods’ girlfriend was killed in the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007 and he’s been fighting for stricter gun laws ever since. “It’s great that they’re talking about preventing tragedies like this but I really think this is the wrong approach,” Woods said.
Lawmakers in the House passed a bill Saturday to allow college students who are over 21 and have a concealed weapons permit to bring a gun on campus.
“This idea that somebody is going to be a hero and stop a mass shooting is dangerous,” Woods said.
“I’m really split on that,” said father of 3 Bryan Johnson. “My 2 other children are older and it was Columbine. That just struck fear in the hearts of every parent I know.”
The House also passed a measure to allow trained school employees to become school marshals and have access to a gun in case of an emergency. “Trained people yes, everybody… no,” said Johnson.
“Each school will be posted with a sign that says ‘this school is protected by a certified school marshal.'” said state Rep. Jason Villalba who authored the bill.
Villalba said the appointed employees would undergo 80 hours of training.
“What we’re doing is taking people who work at the school; teachers, vice principals, other folks who are already there to become school marshals like police officers for that very narrow circumstance in the moment of crisis, when somebody has broken down the front door and is then attacking our children,” Villalba said.
Still, students like Woods urge lawmakers to take a different approach, like universal background checks. “We need to look at solutions that are preventative and not reactive,” Woods explained. Woods said he supports the 2nd Amendment but says with those rights, come responsibilities.
Those bills still need one final vote in the House before moving on to the Senate.
A universal background check is not going to stop some mad man from committing a horrific crime. I’d rather be able to protect myself from a crazy than be totally defenseless.