Lauren Kelley : Packing Heat on Texas Campuses

Texas Governor Rick Perry fires a six shooter at an event in Fort Worth. Photo by Rodger Mallison / AP.

Pretty scary:
Texas about to make it legal

to carry guns on college campuses

By Lauren Kelley / AlterNet / February 21, 2011

From the annals of bad ideas: the Texas legislature is poised to pass a bill that will make it legal for both students and professors to carry concealed handguns on college campuses, in the name of self-defense.

From AP:

More than half the members of the Texas House have signed on as co-authors of a measure directing universities to allow concealed handguns. The Senate passed a similar bill in 2009 and is expected to do so again. Republican Gov. Rick Perry, who sometimes packs a pistol when he jogs, has said he’s in favor of the idea.

Texas has become a prime battleground for the issue because of its gun culture and its size, with 38 public universities and more than 500,000 students. It would become the second state, following Utah, to pass such a broad-based law. Colorado gives colleges the option and several have allowed handguns.

This move isn’t a huge surprise, since Texas is clearly one of the more gun-friendly states in the country (the governor “sometimes packs a pistol when he jogs,” for goodness sake). But the measure has drawn its fair share of criticism, most notably from the victims of the Virginia Tech shooting — a group that knows a thing or two about the consequences of carrying guns on campuses. Some of the Virginia Tech victims traveled to the Texas state Capitol on Thursday:

Colin Goddard, who was shot four times during the Virginia Tech rampage and survived by playing dead, urged Texas lawmakers on Thursday not to allow concealed handguns in college classrooms. He and John Woods, another former Virginia Tech student whose girlfriend was among the more than 30 people killed in the April 2007 carnage, were at the Capitol to fight against guns on campus bills pending in the House and Senate….

I was there that day. It was the craziest day of my life with one person walking around with two guns,” Goddard said. “I can’t even imagine what it would have been like with multiple students and multiple guns.”

Another group against the bill? Leaders of Texas’ own community colleges.

Collin College chief of police Ed Leathers says he is a supporter of Texas’ concealed handgun laws, and even has a concealed handgun license himself. But he adds that “Our officers are trained to go immediately to the location of where shots are reported to be fired, and they’re trained not to ask any questions but stop the person who they identify with a weapon” — possibly causing confusion about who the criminal is, which could have tragic consequences.

San Jacinto College spokesperson Teri Fowlé adds, “If you have students who are constantly wary of who is carrying a gun and who is not, how does that facilitate education?”

[Lauren Kelley is an associate editor at AlterNet and a freelance journalist based in New York City. This article was distributed by AlterNet.]

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7 Responses to Lauren Kelley : Packing Heat on Texas Campuses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Unlimited concealed carry is also on the agenda of the wingnut Republican majority in Wisconsin.
    Political demonstrations could get more than interesting in the future.

  2. Richard says:

    Back in another life, a long time ago I worked as a writer for the Scranton Commission, (Commission on Campus Unrest.) Appointed by Nixxxon they were charged, among other things, with investigating the brutal murder of 4 unarmed children and the wounding of seven others on the Campus at Kent State.
    The #1 recommendation of the Commission was: All guns off campus, every one army, Feds,

  3. i went to college near austin in the late 70's. Half my dorm had a gun in their room. Kid next door had a rifle in his room. I carried a handgun with me on the 16 hour drive from home to school and then kept it in the closet.

    Dont know the situation now as far as guns on that campus. Its always been a pretty crime free campus. Crimes are mainly drug and property crimes. Never been

  4. Anonymous says:

    I can't believe I'm going to agree with DHC.. but I am!
    Being a Texan and a CHL holder, I see having other CHL folks around as additional safety..
    Had there been a CHL person in Luby's that fateful day, the "body count" might very well have been considerably lower.. Had there been a responsibly armed student at Virginia Tech, the carnage might have been stopped

  5. Anonymous says:

    In many places the worst criminals (those that get you in cross fire of gang wars) use automatic weapons. A simple 357 or even 44 magnum is no match for the weapons gang members use. So are we to accelerate our sense of self protection by carrying illegal automatic weapons? Should we become a Cambodia? I think not.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The problem with anecdote as argument is there is always another anecdote handy to counter it with. In my own experience, a cousin of mine, I’m pretty sure, shot a man to death when he was a teenager and got away with it because the small-town cops didn’t manage to solve the murder. When I was a kid, the woman next door shot herself in the head one afternoon when she was drunk. I heard the shot. My brother the cop shot himself in the leg accidentally while demonstrating his new quick-draw holster to other cops. His teenaged son swiped one of his pistols one night to shoot out all the street lights in the neighborhood and went to reform school for it. When I was in the army, a fellow soldier was shot accidentally when another soldier was clearing his .45 into a barrel of sand. Also in the army, a bullet missed me by inches when another soldier was cleaning his M-14, which he thought was unloaded. My sister-in-law walked in one day to find my mother, lost in her Alzheimer’s, wandering around the house with my father’s .38 in her hand. All this is true.

    Funny but I don’t personally know of a single incident of anyone being safer because of personal gun.

    David Morris

  7. Anonymous says:

    “Funny but I don’t personally know of a single incident of anyone being safer because of personal gun.” (Yeah, that was so funny I forgot to laugh!) You must be quite ignorant, then. As many as three million crimes per year are thwarted by armed citizens, most often without firing a shot. And that’s to say nothing of how we can never know how many potential perpetrators were deterred from attempting their contemplated crime by the mere thought that their intended victim or a bystander MIGHT be armed.

    Oh, and before we forget, Virginia Tech was a “gun-free zone”…tell me, how did THAT work out for them, huh?

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