Texas considering concealed handguns on campus
Before a vote on the measure, there will be a public meeting on carrying concealed guns on Texas college campuses.
February 22nd, 2011
03:21 PM ET

Texas considering concealed handguns on campus

Texas lawmakers are weighing a bill that would allow professors and students to carry concealed weapons on college campuses. Before the voting begins, a public meeting on the measure will be announced soon on the legislature's site, searchable by #sb354.

"This is about self-defense," said San Antonio Republican Sen. Jeff Wentworth, the legislation's sponsor. "It's about protecting lives of students who are totally vulnerable and defenseless and able to be picked off by a deranged shooter, as was the case in Virginia."

Wentworth is referring to the April 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech when student Seung-Hui Cho shot 32 people to death. All except two were killed in classrooms in a single on-campus building. Cho committed suicide as authorities approached. He had purchased the handguns used in the massacre legally. (See CNN.com's special coverage of the Virginia Tech tragedy.)

Virginia Tech is the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history. The second-deadliest happened in 1966 when Charles Whitman killed 16 people and wounded 31 at the University of Texas at Austin. A student and former U.S. Marine, Whitman picked off some of his victims from his perch in a campus tower. Most recently in Texas, a student fired an assault rifle in September at the University of Texas. He killed himself, but no one else was hurt.

"The Virginia shooter was mentally deranged. The people who would be able to carry weapons on campus, if this passes, would be licensed, and therefore fully trained," he said. "To get a license in Texas, you have to be 21, go through a 10-hour course and pass an exam, and go out on a shooting range with a handgun and pass a test.

One would have to undergo a criminal background check and pay a fee of more than $100, Wentworth said. "People do not lightly apply for licenses," he said. "We would have responsible, trained people there in the classroom."

Opponents of the bill are concerned that more guns would mean more violence. Critics include two Virginia Tech students who barely escaped Cho's rampage.

"I was there that day. It was the craziest day of my life with one person walking around with two guns," Colin Goddard told reporters last week when he spoke out against the bill at the Texas Capitol. "I can't even imagine what it would have been like with multiple students and multiple guns."

Goddard was shot four times and survived by playing dead. He wrote about his opposition to guns on campus for CNN.com in January.

Former Tech student John Woods, whose girlfriend was killed in the shooting, joined Goddard in Texas to say he, too, is against the bill.

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Filed under: Crime • Politics • Texas
soundoff (265 Responses)
  1. The Bacon Chef

    First 🙂

    February 22, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patrick from Minnesota

      Last (for now)

      February 22, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gun owner

      give every child an Uzi and a few grenades and a few knives and a pistol for the ankle. Then there would be zero murders in America.

      February 22, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark Reyes

      Okay.. If they want guns, the campus has to be "dry'. In other words Students, Guns, and Booze don't mix. Possesion of a firearm while intoxicated = 10 years minimum. THEN I might believe they were serious about 'self defense".

      February 22, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • big paws richie

      I agree this will only inspire more shootings, or people will get scared and pull their weapons out and just makes things worse

      February 23, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  2. Dannyboy

    some people are so stupid!! Especially the two "surviors" of virginia tech, if other students or teachers had guns too then he might have killed one or two people before the other students or teachers pulled thier guns and ended it.

    February 22, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Katie Ford

      Back in 1966, guns were allowed on campuses here in Texas. In fact, Whitman's range was extremely limited when shooting from the tower because there were civilians on the ground, shooting back at him.
      I can absolutely see the dangers, and it is terrible what happened in Virginia, but this article is right about concealed handgun licenses being time intensive and expensive to get. It's not something you just decide to do when you're bored one weekend.

      I also believe, that while having guns on campus might not be a necessity, I think it is naive to say this will bring about more violence. If someone wants to bring a gun on campus, especially one as vast and crowded at UT, they will bring a gun on campus, regardless of the state legislator.

      February 22, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Unforgotten

      So your answer is a 'what if' situation?
      Here, let me try it too.
      The guy who commited the murders first shot two people in another building (if not mistaken) and then, more or less one hour after that, he started his rampage.
      My 'what if': He commits the first two murders, everybody on campus hear about the story and all those who have guns with them decide to carry them. He starts shooting.Two or more people pull out their concealed guns from (say) their backpacks and rush to the place where the sound of bullets originated and meet each other, coming from different aisles/corridors/stairways and see the same stuff, a dude (or more) carrying a gun and shoots have been fired and people have been killed.
      If they (both) are cold blood and extremely reasonable people they might be able to realize that the other guy's gun was not fired and not shoot at each other, or at least they can engage on a 'standoff' of sorts.
      If they are just two guys who are not trained to control their emotions and, probably, are scared...
      See the scenario?

      February 22, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • rhthomas333

      Unforgotten- i understand what your getting at. Yes hypothetically something like that could happen (anything is possible). But that is why there is a class and training before you're allowed to carry a gun. If you remember the soldier that shot up the fort in Texas, all the other soldiers didn't start shooting like crazy and creating a massacre. SO...

      Maybe the question shouldn't be are people allowed to carry concealed weapons on campus (or anywhere else) but maybe the question should be how hard is the class to get a concealed weapons permit.

      February 23, 2011 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Boheme

      You call them stupid because the were victims and now oppose ANY campus guns now? You must have truly feces in your brain cavity.

      February 23, 2011 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
    • che

      rephrase what you said about my fellow students you stupid sob

      February 23, 2011 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Earnán

      Unforgotten:

      And yet somehow, with many millions of Americans legally carrying guns every day, this fantasy of yours has never come to pass?

      Drat, foiled by reality once again!

      February 23, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. american citizen

    This is a slippery slop...... If the perp starts shooting first, how are others going to know who to shoot at if they get in the gun fight late? Could mistakes be made? I hope the people that get guns become really aware of there surroundings. The CSI people could have a lot of work on there hands. I am all for protecting ourselves. I am just asking the question.

    February 22, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      That is a serious question you ask and one that will certainly come up. You may recall the man in Tucson who almost shot a guy by mistake, that had picked up the pistol that was wrestled from the nutcase there. Luckily, he had enough wits about him to realize something wasn't quiet right.

      February 22, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • abby

      absolutely good point to raise - the police arrive and see armed people - who's the perp?

      February 22, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • mammoth

      Good question, but flawed (thanks to too many Hollywood movies/tv shows):

      The idea of carrying a gun is not to go running into a dangerous situation with your gun trying to shoot the bad guy and becoming a hero in the process, it's actually a last measure to protect your own life.

      In an event as described above (school shootings) one would still seek cover, locks doors, etc. and wait for police. However, with a gun the hiding student(s)/teacher(s) now have the ability to shoot back when the threat presents itself. Simple.

      The second part of being able to carry is that when many people are carrying it will also act as a deterrent for a potential "nutjob" who thinks killing teachers and students is going to be easy.

      February 22, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      @mammoth – claim it for what it is. Of course it's about being a hero. What good is it for self defense? If someone wants you dead? You can't win the draw if you don't know you're in a gunfight until theirs is already out. And nutjobs don't think. They just kill until some 'hero' kills them.

      February 22, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Unforgotten

      mammoth – If ALL the people who are not the 'nutjob' and have now weapons with them can be able to control themselves in such a dire situation then you may be right.
      One or two fellas who happen to have a gun and are scared and have them with them... you are dealy wrong.

      February 22, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gun Permit Hopeful

      @ leeinsula
      Sorry if I misspelled your name. Gun carrying is a last line of defense. Always has been. When I hear comments like that I think of someone who have never seen or touched a gun in thier life, and everything they know comes from movies and the news.

      @l leeinsula and Unforgiven
      What you have to realize is that EVERY time a gun goes off, it is reported by the news. At MTSU last week there was a "shooting" do you know what happened? Two people where arguing, and one gestured stupidly with a gun, it went off, rebounded off of a wall and hit the other person it the THUMB!!! Accidents happen, so do intentional shootings, more people die in car accidents every year then are killed by gunman. On a MASSIVE scale. Do we ban driving? Accidents happen with every potentially deadly item in the hands of people, and anyone who argues cars aren't I point to fatal accidents. Guns aren't scary, only the people who don't know about them are terrified. I could cite dozens of other cases, but I have to get to class. I want to carry a gun, but I can't on campus here in Tennessee. I hope it passes for you Texas folks, maybe then others will wise up.

      February 23, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      @abby, I wouldn't be worried about law enforcement. They're trained in such matters and won't just open fire on anyone with a weapon. I WOULD be worried about other gung-ho students showing up late and not knowing who the "good guys and bad guys" are.

      Just to be safe though, always remember the universal sign for "I mean you no harm" of hands up.

      February 23, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Richp, Easton, Pa

      The shooting starts, classes get locked down, nobody in our out of the class till it's clear, much better to have a CC person watching the door vs someone who can only make faces.
      It's a last resort, very few run to the sound of gunfire, even those of us who have been on the pointy end.
      As for Ft Hood, probably the most unarmed place next to a school is a military base, all weapons are locked in arms rooms, bolts removed and locked in a safe inside the arms room, ammo, could be miles, yes miles away in a ammo bunker.The only armed personnel are the security people, mostly civilians or civil service, sometimes active duty, depends on the base. Some CO's have gotten smart and have a mike force ready, some don't, again depends on where they have been.

      February 23, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ben W

    To the person at CNN who posted this article, I can't find anywhere in either SB 354 by Wentworth or HB 750 by Driver that refers to the ability of students or professors to carry on campus. I think it is wrong of you to post such an article which is not true. These bills aren't merely limited to students and professors, but to every Texan over the age of 21 who has a CHL(Concealed Handgun License). I would appreciate if when you posted articles, they were factually true

    February 22, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thanks

      Ben..Thanks for doing some fact checking on this…glad somebody checks the media and what they say

      February 22, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      The bill is currently in the state house. http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB750

      February 22, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Sam

    I can see it now dead bodies everywhere on campus because of some idiots saying we need to protect the students from crazy people your playing with fire.

    February 22, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim Davis

      It won't make any difference. Soon nobody will at the Campus except Looters and homeless ppl..... After the Storm passes.

      February 22, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Michael

    I was born and raised in Texas and am astonished that "Texas conservatism" has become synonymous with "Texas stupidity." Case in point.

    February 22, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      As a native Texan, I heartily agree that we have a legislature filled with morons.

      February 23, 2011 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Chase

      In East Texas, born and raised. On the playground is where i spent most of my days! chilin' out maxin, relaxin all cool and shootin some bball outside of the school when a couple of guys they were up to no good; started makin trouble in my neighbor hood.

      February 23, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. RUFFNUTT

    YEHAW... fire ready aim.. better to have a gun and not need it then need a gun and not have it..

    February 22, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. 4th down

    Guns! For everyone! why dont we just blast ourselves back to the stone~age then again thats just what we might be doing chitty chitty bang bang!

    February 22, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • R D

      Yea because defending yourself is a stone age principle. I would probably be considered a liberal but I still support this because as someone else said this isn't about people being heroes its so that if something does happen people can lock themselves in a classroom when a shooting happens but still have a chance of survival if a gunman does break into the room. One of the things I find interesting is that most of the people in the US who are for strict gun control have never actually handled a firearm.(pew research center)

      February 22, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. david jame

    kill them all, let God sort them out!

    February 22, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. concerned parent

    difficult situation. I believe in the freedom this country gives us, which includes the right to arm ourselves, its what we're all fighting for – but not sure about this one. If my son or daughter who go to that university will feel safer knowing others have hand guns (concealed) in class, or not? 'american citizen' brings up a really good point, you might not know who the real shooter is and its a really big risk. Maybe they should start by arming the employees, professors first and see how that works before allowing students to do the same. Just allow the students to concentrate on their studies, and let the school security & admin. take charge of the rest.

    February 22, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Merlin

      Ther idea that having the right to arm oneself is a good thing is already of base. What does that have to do with being a good person. This Country has more dead people ,killed by citizens than any other civilized Country on the planet.
      Arming the faculty members, right that is a great statement for the "freest Country on the Planet" please think and look what you are saying!

      February 22, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Woodzilla

      @ Concerned Parent – "let the school security & admin. take charge of the rest." Right; that worked really good for Virginia Tech. When someone is actively trying to murder you, will you be content to wait for "the school security & admin." to "take charge" of it?

      February 22, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      @Woodzilla he said it may be a good idea to arm the employees as well. VA Tech didn't have armed teachers. Horrible comparison.

      February 22, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Merlin

    Why am I not surprised that stupidity like that comes out of Texas! I lived there for 20 years! It seems to be all about "hunting, fishing and bull.....! The sad thing is ,that this is not the only State in the Union where stupidity and insanity seems to win out!
    How about focusing on education, look where Texas ranks!

    February 22, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • buildafence

      You can thank the Mexicans for that.

      February 22, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. RUFFNUTT

    you know even people of mexican decent hate border jumpers.. and other people that took the time to immagrate legally feel like it's a slap in the face that they just cross the border have a baby and bam! here you democratic voter card..

    February 22, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. citizen

    Hoard food, water and duck tape. Guns on campus is a bad idea.

    February 22, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cherries

      I think that's the funniest thing I've heard in a long time. Are you serious?

      February 22, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Josh

    Strikes me as overkill, a bit. Yes, school shootings happen, and they are tragic - but wouldn't one think the likelihood of shootings at schools would increase as the number of people carrying guns increases? Hm. I'm just not sold on the idea that carrying a concealed weapon is any sort of deterrent - it's a knee jerk reactions to an unfortunate situation, and likely an excuse to bring out the soapbox and yell things about the 2nd amendment.

    February 22, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Believe it or not, the simple act of carrying a firearm does not turn you into a cold blooded killing machine.

      People that go through the process of getting a concealed handgun license have to pass background checks, spend many hours in a classroom discussing the right and wrong times to use a firearm, and attend a range session where they have to show competency in utilizing their weapon.

      Ergo, one could rightly assume that these people are good people, and are only looking to watch over themselves as well as taking on the responsibility of watching those immediately around them. They have become sheepdogs, watching over others to defend them from the wolves coming to take lives.

      February 23, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  15. Frank

    People of the United States of America.
    When I was 18 and drafted to go to Vietnam,the U.S. Government had no problem arming me with an M16 and a 45 Colt Semiautomatic and told me to eliminate the enemy.i have no problem arming college students if they pass all the criteria required to carry a weapon.They need to understand the only time to use deadly force is when your life or someone elses life is threatened.Anything less than that and you can be prosecuted for murder etc...

    February 22, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • arby

      Prosecute them for murder...why didnt I think of that!
      Hey, are you going to bury your daughter or son first? or after you prosecute?

      February 22, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
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