The Texas House approved a bushel of bills Saturday to further soften
gun laws that were already among the country's most firearms-friendly,
allowing college students to carry handguns in class, putting
potentially armed marshals in public schools and exempting the state
from any future federal bans on assault rifles, high-capacity magazines
or universal background checks.
Dubbed "gun day" by supporters and opponents alike, the parade of
votes came as tens of thousands of members of the National Rifle
Association attended the group's annual convention
in Houston. Gov. Rick Perry welcomed convention attendees Friday with a
video of him taking target practice using a semi-automatic rifle.
The 12 approved gun bills must all clear final, procedural votes
before heading to the state Senate. Still, they advanced with only
minimal delay, cruising past Democrat-led efforts to block or stall
them. Nearly all were approved by simple voice votes.
A Democratic parliamentary point of order managed to shoot down just
one, a bill by Rep. Van Taylor, R-Plano, that would have allowed the use
of a concealed handgun license as valid proof of personal
identification -- even though obtaining such licenses requires a
background check that's not necessary to get driver licenses and many
other forms of ID.
The fiercest debate in the Republican-controlled chamber came over
the plan to allow students over 21 who already hold concealed weapons
permits to take their handguns into college classrooms. The issue became
exceedingly volatile during the last legislative session in 2011, and
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