By: Julia Deng
ODESSA - Texas students are one step closer to being able to arm themselves.
The state Senate gave preliminary approval to allowing concealed handguns at public colleges on Wednesday, following nearly five hours of debate.
Senate Bill 11 - often referred to as the "campus carry bill" - passed on a 20-11 vote, with all 11 of the chamber's Democrats voting against it.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying the bill would "expand and protect Second Amendment Right legislation in a historic way."
NewsWest 9 spoke with University of Texas of the Permian Basin students for their take on the controversial bill.
"It might be bad because you have some trigger happy people walking around here," said Matthew Pinkney, a UTPB junior studying finance. "In a bad situation, they might just go haywire and shoot somebody."
He acknowledged seeing "both pros and cons."
"[If it passes,] a student can have the means to protect themselves... and others, if necessary," said Pinkney.
However, he won't be in any hurry to arm himself. He told NewsWest 9 "it's not the Wild West" on campus.
Dustin Fawcett, a UTPB senior majoring in political science, said he also "felt really safe on campus."
"But I think [passing] the campus carry bill is a great idea. I'm actually in the process of getting my concealed carry [license]."
He said all students "and people in general" should have the right to carry concealed handguns.
"Especially on a [college] campus," Fawcett told NewsWest 9. "You never know what goes on. There's crazies everywhere.
A final vote - expected Thursday - is required before the bill can be sent to the House.
SB 11 does not apply to private campuses.