Capitol arrest comes amid debate about controversial gun bills

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A member of the group Open Carry Texas was arrested on a criminal trespass charge Thursday morning at the state Capitol. The group’s Twitter account claims the man was asking what law forbids a plastic toy gun in the Capitol, and he refused to leave when asked.

Meanwhile, two controversial gun bills were up for debate at the Capitol Thursday. One bill will allow for Concealed Handgun License holders to openly carry their handguns in a holster while in public areas of Texas. The other bill would expand the existing law to allow college students, staff and visitors with Concealed Handgun Licenses to carry their firearms anywhere on state campuses. That includes classrooms and libraries.

KXAN spoke with a lawmaker who supports the measure, as well as a survivor of the 1966 University of Texas sniper shooting from the tower — who was at the Capitol to testify against it.

“Let’s really think about what we want to leave as a legacy for our children and our grandchildren? Do we want it to be a culture where we think the way to solve things is with a gun?” said Claire James.

“I just think it’s very important for my daughter when she arrives at the university and all the other kids around the state, when they are at their campus home that they are able to protect themselves in their home,” said Sen. Brandon Creighton, (R) Senate District 4.

After nine hours of testimony, the committee voted 7-2 along partisan lines to approve both open and campus carry bills, likely fast-tracking them for a full Senate vote when lawmakers can begin passing bills next month.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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