In Erath County, headache racks are just part of the decÓr; but a piece of legislation making its way through the Texas House of Representatives could allow anyone with a concealed handgun license (CHL) to carry their sidearm onto campuses of higher education - such as Tarleton State University.

Texas House Bill 1893 was filed by District 113 Representative Joe Driver (R) on Feb. 26. Representative Sid Miller (R-Stephenville) is one of the co-authors.

"I'm in favor of anybody who goes through CHL (training) to be able to carry guns on public property,e Miller said.

He said the bill was inspired in part by the tragic events at Virginia Tech University and Northern Illinois University. He is hoping that would-be shooters might be deterred if they knew classmates might shoot back.

Tarleton junior, Cassandra Small, is not sure she is comfortable with the bill.

"The more people carrying (guns) the more likelihood there is for an incident,e Small said.

Small, who lives on campus, admits, however, that she has not spent much time around guns and can understand that people would want to protect themselves.

"I have never been in a situation where there were a lot of guns around,e Small said. "I would not feel comfortable knowing that someone next to me in class had one.e

Her friend, James Crawford, 23, does not agree. He has had a CHL for more than a year.

"People that have a CHL know how to treat a weapon,e Crawford said. "Most people that have them are smart about using them.e

Crawford said he thought that would-be shooters might think twice before entering a classroom if the legislation passes.

"You never know when someone is going to walk into your school nowadays,e Crawford said. "People are going to feel safer. You're going to be able to protect yourself and maybe keep them from killing someone.e

HB 1893 states that a license holder may carry a concealed handgun on the campus of any institution of higher education, public or private, in Texas. Universities are prohibited from creating their own campus rules barring guns on campus.

If the bill passes, the new law would go into effect Sept. 1.

Tarleton President Dr. F. Dominic Dottavio and Tarleton Police Chief Justin Williams were both contacted for comment. However, as state employees, they are not able, by law, to comment on pending legislation.

HB 1893 was referred to the Committee of Public Safety on March 5.

District 25 Texas Senator Jeff Wentworth (R) filed companion bill SB 1164 on Feb. 26. It was referred to the State Affairs Committee on March 13.