Texas Republican Rep. Randy Weber and 19 other Republicans are proposing a new federal law that would allow qualified people to carry firearms in school zones, a change the lawmakers say is meant to help deter and prevent mass shootings.

Weber's Protect Against School Shootings Act, or the PASS Act, is a reaction to the several mass casualties over the last few years that have prompted most Democrats to call for more restrictive gun laws. But Weber and other Republicans say the right answer is to eliminate gun-free zones at schools, which leave schools defenseless against would-be killers.

"Unfortunately, the Obama administration believes making the lives of lawfully armed citizens tougher will solve this issue," Weber said in a statement to the Washington Examiner. "Lawfully armed citizens are the most responsible class of gun owners, and concealed handgun owners can make communities safer."

Under his bill, anyone allowed by state law to carry a concealed weapon would be allowed to carry in a school zone, and would be allowed to "discharge a firearm in defense of self or others, in a school zone."

Weber said that according to a recent study, most mass shootings occur where most people are banned from carrying guns. He noted that the shooter in the 2012 Aurora, Colo., movie theater specifically chose that theater because it banned handguns.

"It was not the closest theater to him, but it was the one where he knew he would find the least resistance," Weber said.

Weber said allowing concealed carry permit holders and current and retired law enforcement officers carry weapons in these zones would give them a chance at protecting children and others.

"It is time for Congress to act in a way that will keep our children safe, and I believe that my legislation will help us do just that," he added.

Weber's bill has 19 cosponsors, including 10 from Weber's home state of Texas.