GREGG COUNTY, TEXAS (KLTV) - He hasn't even been sworn in yet, but Representative-Elect David Simpson is already stirring the legislative pot.
Simpson's pre-filed H.B. 86 a week ago. It would allow students, faculty, staff, and visitors on Texas college campuses to legally carry concealed handguns, as long as they are at least 21 and properly licensed by the state.
Tashonna Wicks wants to attend Kilgore College next semester. She was surprised by the notion, "Not everyone is responsible enough," she said.
"If [someone] gets his concealed handgun permit, he should have the right to carry where he wants to," said Samuel Jamison, another prospective student. "He should have a right to defend himself."
"The real question is, should we take away some individuals' rights to protect themselves, and I say, no," said Simpson.
Simpson said he filed the bill, in part, because of the incident involving the gunman at the University of Texas at Austin, last September. He said the Second Amendment should apply everywhere, including college campuses.
As it's written right now, the bill would also allow licensed carriers would be allowed to concealed carry on grounds or in buildings where university-sponsored events take place.
The bill would also prohibit colleges and universities from adopting their own rules or policies prohibiting concealed carry on their campuses.
"This enables individuals to protect themselves, quickly, when seconds count," said Simpson. "I'd hate to see a Virginia Tech type incident occur here in Texas."
"I think it's a bad idea," said Bill Holda, president of Kilgore College. The campus is just one of the institutions in within district 7, covering all of Gregg County and parts of Smith County.
Holda said he favors protecting Second Amendment rights, but called Simpson's bill "ill-advised."
"It's easy to pass a rule and say, 'we're going to create access,' but living with that rule and managing [it]--actual implementation is another issue," he said.
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