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From The Newsroom: Texas Lawmaker Wants Attorney General To Clarify Campus Carry Law

Marjorie Kamys Cotera
The Texas Tribune
Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, listens during a debate over Senate Bill 11 on March 18, 2015.

The top local stories this morning from the KERA Newsroom: The Texas lawmaker who wrote the state’s campus carry law wants Attorney General Ken Paxton to clarify where universities can prohibit handguns. State Senator Brian Birdwell of Granbury said in a letter Monday that banning guns in classrooms would violate the spirit of the law.

Senate Bill 11 will allow people with concealed handgun licenses to carry their weapons on college and university campuses. Colleges and universities across the state have been grappling with how to implement the law when it goes into effect Aug. 1.

Public schools are allowed to designate parts of their campuses as “gun free zones.” Some schools want to declare classrooms gun-free, but Birdwell said that would violate the law.

Under SB 11, private schools can opt out of the law. SMU and TCU have already done so, and leaders with Austin College in Sherman and Paul Quinn College in Dallas have said they would like to do the same.

A task force with the University of North Texas is expected to roll out its recommendations to the school’s president next month.

Other stories this morning:

  • Vice President Joe Biden was in Dallas yesterday as part of a three-city tour of Texas. He seized the opportunity to talk about Governor Abbott’s directive to ban Syrian refugees into the state. However, the Vice President was mostly in Dallas to talk about investing in infrastructure.
  • The Big Screen team talks to the director of the documentary “Sweet Science.” The film followed members of the Oak Cliff Boxing Club for seven years.
  • The annual Big D NYE celebration in downtown Dallas will not take place this year. Executive director Jim Glass, however, said there’s a good chance it will come back in 2017.

You can listen to North Texas stories weekdays at 8:20 a.m. and 6:20 p.m. on KERA 90.1 FM.

Former KERA staffer Krystina Martinez was an assistant producer. She produced local content for Morning Edition and She also produced The Friday Conversation, a weekly series of conversations with North Texas newsmakers. Krystina was also the backup newscaster for the Texas Standard.