AUSTIN (KXAN) - From kindergarten to college - this week, Texas lawmakers will consider several bills to add guns on campus. This has been one of the most hotly debated topics in recent sessions.
But after a recent string of school shootings - and some new ideas at the Capitol – there is a greater chance you could soon see guns at your child's school.
"We were walking across and I felt like I had stepped on an electrical line, because it was such a huge jolt," said Claire Wilson James.
August 1, 1966, is a date James thinks of often. She was eight months pregnant and a student at the University of Texas. She and her boyfriend, Tom Eckman, were walking by the UT Tower, when a gunman opened fire.
"I had no idea I was shot or where I was shot, and Tom reached out and said, 'Baby, what's wrong?'" she said. "He was shot right away in the neck or shoulder, but at any rate he died instantly."
James was one of 32 injured. Her boyfriend and her unborn child were among 17 dead. This week, she will share her story with a Texas House committee considering several bills to put guns on school campuses.
Just a few blocks from the Capitol where that hearing will take place is the scene of the massacre - a place where students now have mixed emotions on the topic.
"I think there absolutely should be more protection, but I don't think the only way to protect yourself is with a gun," Emily Jackson said.
"You should be able to defend yourself just as they can attack you," Kyle Garrett said.
"I believe we first need to establish a method in which we can not only allow for students to carry a weapon but make sure they have the proper training," Javier Lopez said.
After the UT shooting, James eventually went on to become a teacher and recently asked her third graders what they thought.
"I said, 'They're thinking about putting guns on campus,' and he just said, 'Are they crazy?'" she said. "That was his immediate reaction, and I thought that was pretty right."
On Thursday, the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee will hear James' testimony and other witnesses regarding several "guns on campus" bills. Among the list:
- One would pave the way for guns in college classrooms.
- Another would let people carry guns in their cars on college campuses.
- One would address guns for CHL holders at school.
- And another would allow schools to have marshals to covertly protect the campus.
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