Amid calls for tighter restrictions on guns following last week's deadly rampage in Connecticut, Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry said at a tea party event Monday that anyone with a concealed handgun license in the Lone Star State should be able to take guns on public property - including schools.
"In the state of Texas, with our concealed handgun license, if you have been duly backgrounded and trained and you are a concealed handgun license carrying individual, you should be able to carry your handgun anywhere in this state," said Perry, who later added a person has the right to prohibit guns on their private property.
Provided they have the proper training and license, teachers should have "access to weapons in their school," Perry said. Individual school districts should be able to determine whether or not to allow firearms on their campuses, he said.
At least one school jurisdiction in Texas already allows teachers to carry guns - the Harrold school district, located 175 miles northwest of Dallas, began allowing its employees to carry guns in 2008, as long as they obtained the necessary license.
On Friday, the district's superintendent David Thweatt said the set-up meant his schools were doing everything they could to protect students.
"Is that 100%? No," Thweatt told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "Nothing is 100%. But what we do know is that we've done all we can to protect our children."
The shooting Friday in Connecticut has sparked promises from several federal lawmakers to reintroduce tighter gun control measures, ranging from a reinstatement of a federal ban on assault weapons to banning the sale of high-capacity magazines.
Perry stipulated that lawmakers have a responsibility to "do everything we can to make sure that those types of evils are restricted the best that it can be," but that citizens should be wary of reactive decisions from the federal government.
"One of the things I hope we don't see from our federal government is this knee-jerk reaction from Washington, D.C., when there is an event that occurs that they come in and think they know the answer," Perry said.
On the day of the massacre, Perry requested his state's education commissioner review emergency operation plans in schools, saying it was "essential that we ensure all Texas schools are equipped and ready to carry out a strategic plan to secure the safety of students and staff in the event of a threat such as the one that occurred today."
At the event Monday, Perry also dropped a hint about his political future, including a potential sequel to his failed bid for the 2012 presidential nomination.
The Texas governor said his 2012 run, which ended January, was an "extraordinary experience," and that despite his loss, "I would do it again."