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. Propaganda machine

    Half of you idiots on here have never been to Texas and probably think it is all tumble weeds and cattle. People 21 and older can already legally obtain a concealed carry license. The ONLY difference would be that people who have already passed a background check and that have taken the class can carry their concealed gun on to university property. No one is going to be selling guns at schools and gun sales will not sky rocket because of this. If you are stupid enough to believe the propaganda otherwise, please go drink everything under your sink.

    February 22, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • arby

      Wrong. Texas has some of the most stringent Concealed Carry permit laws in the United States. The course is 10 hrs and requires excellent demonstrated shooting proficiency, situational knowledge (book learning, 80% grade, min to pass) and a background check.

      The instructors go through a RIGOROUS background and certification before they are allowed to train anyone and present them for a license.

      THE PROBLEM
      The problem is, Texas honors the concealed weapon licenses of other states. Florida for example is very lax, and Georgia is even worse. Therefore, we get somebody who picks up their gun at a gunshow with very little training and sense AND THEY HAVE A PERMIT THAT IS VALID IN TEXAS

      February 22, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Unforgotten

      arby – good point, one State standards are not the same of another State.
      I bet that if we asked any Texan cop if he ever met a guy that had a permit to carry a gun and, by Texans standards, he should not be allowed to have it he'll say 'Yes' or 'Not me, but this guy that I know...'.
      And that's another probçlem with this law.
      Does the guys that already have a license/permit (from another state) be ordred to have a new one so they'll be able to carry their guns on campus or that license/permit works as well in that situaion?

      February 22, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. SJA

    Texas, Just og ahead secede already!

    February 22, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Lew

    Why you just pass out guns to all the students at the begining of class and collect them at the end of class! I think the Tex ass legislators are freaking out of their minds for even thinking about passing such an insane bill.

    February 22, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Austin Shooter

    Why the fuss about this law? If you want to carry a concealed gun, just do it. The whole point of it being concealed is that NOBODY else should know you have it. If you need to use it in the middle of calculus to put down a bad guy or a stray coyote, just do it. If it's a reasonable use of force for defense of self or others, law enforcement will not give you any hassle. It's just like the "restrictions" for churches, etc. The only place that competent CHL holders might NOT carry is into an airport where they have scanners.

    February 22, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  5. UnivStudent

    I am for the measure. I currently attend classes at the local university in the morning and go to work in the afternoon. Since I started school, I cannot bring my gun to campus or even leave it in my car. I miss my gun. I work really late hours in a bad part of town and many times I am the one closing up by myself. I don't need nor want my gun at school but I do like to have it at work. I don't have time to go back to the house to retrieve it and then go to work. With the current law, If I bring my gun to school even if I leave it in the car Its a felony. Only criminals should fear law abiding citizens with guns.

    February 22, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ry

      The vast majority of the ridiculous number of gun deaths in this country are not caused by criminals. It's spouses killing spouses or themselves. The course required to get the concealed permit would not have eliminated either the Va Tech or Tucson nut jobs. Both were smart people who could easily do the homework. Surely you don't really think that the minimal training required really guarantees that the carrier will be "responsible". We have people taking ethics and philosophy and law courses who don't emerge "responsible".
      I am a college professor and I can guarantee you that grades will go up if I am facing 150 students, knowing 4 or 5 are carrying glocks or the equivalent. I was a Viet-Nam era naval officer and my minimal firearms training, with a .45, would not qualify me to do anything useful in an event like VaTech. Better to put metal detectors at building doors. That solves the problem, if there is really a problem. In that case, tuition goes up for sure. The reality is that college students are in much more danger from suicide than gun assassination. Creating armed classrooms is simply NOT warranted.

      February 22, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. FROMTHENORTH

    Ok let me explain to you illiterate sheeple what the law is saying ... ill put it in 3rd grade terms so you all understand

    I am a 21 y/o Texas resident who has a Conceal permit for a gun

    I attend a University in the state of Texas .. the current Law Says I'm not allowed to bring my Concealed gun onto school property.

    The New Law proposes that I be allowed to carry the gun I already own and have a permit for onto University Property

    Simple enough .. bhahahaaa

    February 22, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. rollins

    Im all for it!

    February 22, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. RUFFNUTT

    i think they should let everyone wear a 6-shooter like the old west days..

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

      okay, if you want to return to the old days - give up your car/truck - give up your computer, mobile phone, electricity, etc.
      then talk to us about the old days....

      February 22, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • RUFFNUTT

      things were alot simpler back then... atleast they didnt have to worry about all those bills you mentioned.. i'd ride a horse or a bike..

      i bet you they didnt worry about the national debt back then..

      February 22, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Lew

    What I find funny is that all of these mass shootings occur in states that have lax gun laws? I am all for gun rights but there has to be a limit to where you can carry them. I have an 18 yr old in college and would be worried sick that some moron drops his gun in class and people freaked out and started shooting up the place. There is more of a chance of something bad happening with twenty students packing heat. It is just a bad idea period!

    February 22, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • CharlieSeattle

      Texas lax gun laws does nothing to stop a determined person...

      Charles Joseph Whitman (June 24, 1941 – Aug. 1, 1966) was a student at the University of Texas at Austin and a former Marine who killed 16 people and wounded 32 others during a shooting rampage on and around the university's campus on Aug. 1, 1966.

      Whitman killed three of his victims inside the university's tower, and 10 others from the 29th floor observation deck[1][2] of the University's 307-foot (94 m) administrative building; one, Karen Griffith, died a week after the shooting from her wounds.

      The tower massacre happened shortly after Whitman murdered his wife and mother at their homes. He was shot and killed by Austin Police Officer Houston McCoy,[3][4][5] assisted by Austin Police Officer Ramiro Martinez.

      February 22, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      @ charlie seatle.....The Federal Firearms Act of 1934 imposed federal guideline that are still in effect today. In 1938, they amended them to include license requirement. All in all those laws still didn't stop the assassination of Kennedy. Please just because you scared of guns doesn't mean you need to try to scare the rest of us into not owning any. In England, only the criminals own guns and the people that defend themselves from the criminals end up in jail; there is an effort in England to get the govt to reverse the law.

      February 22, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. abby

    Not everyone is Texas is insane, just the gun-toting wannabees who think they're John Wayne. I grew up in a home with handguns and rifles, but I don't own one, don't want one. This is not the 1800s; however, the NRA and the gun-nutters in Texas are in the majority so the legislators pander to those who provide the biggest donations. So guess why a bill gets written and introduced and probably passed? Not because it is the correct thing to do, but because the big donors want it..... In the meantime, "straw buyers" are purchasing guns on behalf of the drug cartels. Business in Texas.... Sigh.

    February 22, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • buildafence

      Oh boo hoo, guns are so awful.

      February 22, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hebbron

      Abby, You speak the truth. It's all about those donations!!!!!

      February 23, 2011 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
  11. chris

    no biggie there are TONS of students at tx colleges that ALREADY have guns in their cars in the school's parking lots!

    February 22, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. CharlieSeattle

    LOL!!! PROVIDE YOUR OWN SECURITY.

    THE COLLEGE OF (((FILL IN THE BLANK))) IS NOT LONGER INTERESTED IN PROVIDING THAT.

    February 22, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. banasy

    Propaganda machine
    and FROMTHENORTH really should just form their own club of disgruntled curmugeons because it is very obvious they have a very low opinion of everyone but themselves. But then, maybe they can get their concealed guns out and shoot each other, thus sparing the rest of the world of their vitriolic hate.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • FROMTHENORTH

      Boy that was a crafty little bit of insight and opinion ...

      February 23, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. nadel

    This is a terrible idea. While not all students would run play the hero, there likely would be. Only to exasperate the situation. While right to carry is fine I suppose. Giving college students weapons in an class environment is not an appropriate venue. My girlfriend was at NIU in 2008 and had classes with the shooter there. People ran out to see what was happening, luckily none of those who did in her building were hurt. While one person may be rational, people in groups are not. Arm them and you will add to the amount of damage that can be caused. Situations described above are very likely. When the police show up who is the actual shooter? When a group of armed students comes across another group of armed students, how does one know it isn't a cordinated attack of some sort. In the Army we trained for months and years to carry our weapons in highly stressful situations, no ten hour class can replicate the events that if pressed these people would face, and it would be likely they would simply get themselves or someone else killed.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      While, i think that your a rational person you need to realize that there are responsible people in college campuses. The use of CCW is not to go and play hero it is there to defend yourself from an intruder, mass shooter or any person that will cause fatal bodily harm. People need to stop being scared of guns and need to educate themselves.

      February 22, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. banasy

    Hey, Jim Davis, aren't you the guy who draws "Garfield"? Hope he makes it through the storm! Cats don't like to get wet, especially drawn ones; the ink runs, lol!

    February 22, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
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