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Texas campus gun bill debate delayed until Monday

Senators squared off Thursday during debate over a controversial bill that would allow eligible students and faculty members to carry handguns on college campuses.

Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, brought up the debate on the grounds that he had enough support – which is 21 votes – in the Senate to bring a bill up for discussion. Wentworth said he garnered 22 votes, but at the last minute lost two: one from Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville; the other from Sen. Mario Gallegos, Jr., D-Houston.

"I would not have brought this bill up today but for your telling me yesterday you would be my 21st vote to suspend,” said Wentworth to Lucio during a squabble about losing his vote.

Lucio said he’d promised Wentworth that he would support the bill next Monday, after ample time to talk to his constituents about the bill.

"You promised me a little while ago, Senator, that you would not bring up this bill until Monday,” said Lucio responding to Wentworth. “It left me comfortable knowing I would be able to have time to discuss this issue with the folks back in my district."

The reasoning behind Lucio’s move is because the bill does not exempt Texas A&M Kingsville from opting out of the bill. Lucio said he worries about the safety of children who attend an academy on the Texas A&M Kingsville campus.

Wentworth said he is working with his colleagues on amendments to the bill. It should be back on the Senate floor Monday.

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