House committee approves campus carry bill

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UT administrators continue their opposition to allowing concealed handguns on campus after a House committee approved a bill Thursday to permit licensees to carry on university grounds.

The House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee voted in favor of the bill, authored by state Rep. Allen Fletcher, R-Cypress, who added an amendment that would allow universities to opt out of permitting concealed handguns inside buildings.

UT spokesman Gary Susswein said administrators had not looked at Fletcher’s proposal but reiterated President William Powers Jr.’s opposition to allowing guns on campus.

“We do not believe the college campus is an appropriate place for guns,” Susswein said.

UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa also opposes allowing concealed handguns at system universities. On March 12, Cigarroa sent a letter to Gov. Rick Perry expressing concerns that such a measure would not increase safety at universities.

“I respect the Legislature’s authority to decide this policy issue and that neither all legislators nor the Texans they represent will agree,” Cigarroa said in the letter. “However, during my tenure as chancellor, parents, students, faculty, staff, administrators and institutional law enforcement officers have all expressed concern that the presence of concealed handguns on our campus will make the campus environment less safe.”