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Government/Politics

Police Pressure Prompts Change On Open Carry Bill

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Ryan E. Poppe
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Gun bills at the state capitol continue to cause a stir among those most affected by the legislation.  And after meeting with lawmakers, state police managed to get a provision affected law enforcement removed. 

The Texas Police Chiefs Association and members of CLEAT called upon lawmakers Wednesday to strip Greenville Republican Senator Don Huffines amendment that prohibits law enforcement from asking for a person’s open carry license.

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Credit Ryan E. Poppe
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Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo says this provision would’ve completely changes the nature of the bill by creating a loophole for criminals wanting to openly carry a handgun in public.

 “We are all very much in favor of the 2nd amendment.  We are not in favor of those who have proven to irresponsible with firearms, irresponsible members of the community, in an essence have committed crimes in order to walk around with guns," Acevedo stressed.

And after meeting one on one with lawmakers and leadership at the state capitol, law enforcement groups managed to get the amendment removed.

A separate gun bill that would allow licensed gun owners to carry a concealed handgun on a college campus passed out of the House.  But because of an amendment added to a bill by San Antonio Democratic Rep. Trey Martinez-Fischer, the bill will have to go through a conference committee. That provision would force all private universities to also adhere to a campus carry law.

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Credit Ryan E. Poppe
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San Antonio Democratic Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer

“And I truly believe that now all colleges and universities are required to carry on campus, they are going to be a number of very powerful people who are going to say we need to get sensible, practical and realistic about our gun policies in Texas. So what applies to UT, applies to Southwestern, if it applies to Schreiner, if it applies to St. Edwards, people are going to start paying attention," Martinez Fischer explained.

Because of that last minute change along with a series of legislative delay tactics, there’s a chance the college campus gun bill will not make it to the Governor’s desk before the June 1st deadline.