State Rep. John Otto supports campus carry

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State Rep. John Otto (R-Dayton) voiced his support for campus carry bills in the State Legislature that would allow for concealed handguns on college campuses.

“I basically do not have a problem with allowing campus carry, provided it is a license CHL holder, which means you have to be 21 years of age and [have] gone through the required training,” Otto said in an interview Wednesday.

Otto said he has voted for similar bills in years past, but the Senate version of those bills died before the law could be enacted.

During the 84th Legislature, Senate Bill 11 and House Bill 937 are hoping to allow campus carry on Texas college campuses. The House version, authored in part by Rep. Cecil Bell (R-Magnolia) whose district includes SHSU – The Woodlands Center, was filed Jan. 26 and has had no developments.

“I will tell you, I have not had any contact from anybody in my district other than those who support it,” Otto said. “I don’t want to simply imply that, that’s a greater number of people. I just know that so far I have not had anybody call me who’s said they oppose it.”

Otto said concealed carry on college campuses might have added a level of protection for the victims of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting in which senior Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 33 people.

“Based on what happened in Virginia Tech, my feeling is if it had, had concealed permit holders, you might have reduced the number of deaths that have occurred,” Otto said.

During the Feb. 12 Senate State Affairs Committee hearing on SB 11, a VT shooting survivor spoke out against this kind of logic representatives have used to justify campus carry, according to The Texas Tribune.

“We survivors do not think that it is a good idea to have guns on campus,” Colin Goddard, who was shot four times, said. “There is no evidence that a bill like SB 11 would do anything to stop a mass shooting, but SB 11 would make the average day on campus more dangerous in an environment where students are dealing with failing grades, alcohol abuse, relationship problems.”

The bill passed the committee and is headed to the Senate floor Monday.