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. buildafence

    That makes so little sense I can't even respond to it. Did you have a stroke recently?

    February 22, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Zeta

    buildafence, hate much? Get your hand off yourself, get out of mommy's basement, and do something constructive, like building a fence around yourself to keep YOU in.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Frank Wilson

    Does the present Texas bill prohibit the mentally ill and members of hate groups, those who advocate violence, from being issued concealed weapons permits? The man who killed 31 people at Virginia Tech was able to legally purchase a weapon and had a history of mental illness. If this bill becomes law, is a student walking on UT Austin Campus to feel safer, knowing there may be some walking right behind her carrying a ,357 under his jacket? Think about it.

    February 22, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Give up your rights!

      Frank, please DO think about it. If that person walking behind you is a reasonable law abiding citizen they may be able to protect themselves and those around them. If that person walking behind you is a bad person with bad intentions then your in the wrong place at the wrong time. The law is not going to stop that bad person from carrying a gun and doing bad things, it will only punish them after the fact. If the law will allow the good guys to protect themselves and other inocents then maybe, just maybe there will be fewer wrong places and wrong times.

      February 23, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Michael M

    Also, let's look at another flaw according to their way of thinking:
    They want to allow anyone to legally have their concealed firearms on campus. So they can have the choice to protect themselves right? Well....what about me? I go to college, I'm in classes with 21 year olds and up....but I am 19. So I guess my privilege to arm myself doesn't matter.

    February 22, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • rhthomas333

      Law says you must be 21. Sucks don't it... You can join the military and die for you country but you cant carry a gun as a citizen.

      February 23, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lily James

    I am a professor in Montana and we have guns everywhere. Students come on campus all the time with guns and it is very scary for those of us who do not. We had a student who was scaring all of us, we reported it to campus authorities. This student was merely removed from the lab of the person who complained and placed in another lab. I had a student in my class who wore a parka during good weather to hide his weapon. When he would come to my office I would make sure another student was present. This student threatened me by phone. If students are going to carry weapons on campus I suggest nuclear sidearms for all faculty. There are too many of us who will be forced to retire for fear of our lives due to students with weapons. When the US comes to this it is time to eave and let them wallow in ignorance and shoot it out. Forget education, faculty must be prepared for the worst when students carry weapons ! It is hard enough to get these kids to pay attention or have respect for themselves or others, lets give'em guns and let them shoot it out. The survivors will get an A and the rest will be dead!!!!

    February 22, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Captain Underpants

      Sorry, but I call BS.

      February 23, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. James

    Hmm, we also license people to drive and enough people drink and drive as it is. What I'd be concerned about is college parties where everyone's drinking and disputes break out.
    Like the legalization of marijuana in Cali I supported it because we could determine on a smaller scale if it may work. Why not let the Texans give it a shot? If it passes see how it plays out in the next few years.

    February 22, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mike

    Yes of course the answered to one derranged individual in Virgina is to arm all college students across America. Imagine this if you will-Some co-ed drops her purse and her hand gun discharges and 200 people are killed in the cross fire LOL --and NRA will of once again start the chant "guns don't kill" My county might not be the "best" country in the world but I can still walk on campuses, in the malls and on the streets and drive on the highways not worrying about being shot-even by a policeman. God Save America because your NRA certainly will not

    February 22, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |

      I go to the mall with my gun all the time .. Problem is I dont announce it and Unless posted clearly on the entrance of the mall its not against the law.

      Problem is nobody on here knows when someone is carrying a concealed weapon and most gun owners are not going to be pulling out their weapons unless its a do or die situation ...

      You scaredy cats are mixing up the law abiding gun owners with gang bangers and thugs who obtain illegal firearms to make themselves look tough and think they are cool ... Education is the key here

      February 23, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Brit

    This bill would put more people in danger than it would save. On the surface it may seem like a good idea but it's actually an illogical solution to an unlikely problem.
    School shootings are no doubt a tragedy but they are exceedingly rare. Gun accidents are not. According to the CDC Fatal and Non-Fatal Injury Database 26% of all gun injuries are accidental, this would translate in to roughly 17,000 per year. In 2010 there were 11 killed in school shootings and less than 30 injured. More guns more accidents. Given the rarity of school shootings accidents caused by the passing of this bill may cause more harm that it would be preventing.
    Given the problems with gun related accidents hopefully student’s will not be sitting in class with loaded guns in their laps. In the case of an actual school shooting will they actually have time to dig their guns out of their backpacks and get in a clear shot? My guess is no.
    Situations like a school shooting are absolute chaos. I don’t want to get shot by a disturbed fellow student but I also don’t want to be shot by my classmate who thinks he’s going to be a hero. The last thing we need in a dangerous situation is a bunch of other people pulling out guns, adding to the bullets ricocheting through the chaos of a classroom in panic. This would cause additional injuries and possibly fatalities.
    Furthermore, there is no need for students to carry guns. I think the bill should be modified to allow only teachers to carry guns on campus, not students. After 9/11 not every passenger was allowed to carry a gun, the responsibility was placed in the hands of the pilot. Pilots that wish to carry a gun on board have to be registered, proving proper training, and carry a certificate with them at all times when they have their weapon with them. This practical solution can be carried over to our campuses.
    Lastly, guns are not just a commodity to be taken lightly. While the slogan for students in favor of guns on campus is “guns save lives” they are also the instruments responsible for the deaths of 33 people at Virginia Tech alone. Are we really so desensitized that we forget how dangerous these weapons are? The intent of a gun is to kill, and it shocks me that when a tragedy like a school shooting occurs our first thought is not “let’s keep guns out of the hands of the psychologically unstable” but “let’s give everyone guns”.

    February 22, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • R D

      gun crime and accidents wouldn't rise it would just be people who already carry a gun everywhere else legally doing it in one more place. It's not like just because college students would now be able to carry concealed on campus that they would all run out and get permits and buy guns. ill say it again, it would just be the same people who legally carry everywhere else carrying one more place

      February 22, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • R D

      although I do agree with you that even though they are tragic, school shootings are extremely rare compared to other things that kill people.

      February 22, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. SiriusVH

    This is good, while the rest of the rest of the world is busy working on trying to get ahead of the U.S. economically by promoting education and things like that, lawmakers in America want the citizenry in the U.S. to play "OK Corral" on campus. That certainly looks mature.

    February 22, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. kim

    We are going back in time and becoming cowboys.

    February 22, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thorrsman

      The so-called "Wild West" was far safer than the eastern cities like New York at that same time. And "cowboys" who got drunk and shot up a saloon–if they survived–had to pay damages for what they wrecked. If they KILLED someone during a "spree", they swung, and they ALL knew it, so even drunk, they were VERY careful about what got shot.

      February 22, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. joe

    I think everyone should have a gun and kill as many people possible that way there will be no one to shoot at

    February 22, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. joe

    Soon we should carry grenades and ak47s

    February 22, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. JJ

    Is the spelling in these posts an index to the intelligence of the writers?

    February 22, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. bozo

    Colin, it would be an extremely polite crowd... don't worry your safe.. Anybody w/ 10 hours of karate training can kill you with a strike to the throat.. do you worry about that?? The gun isn't the problem the people are..

    February 22, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • carrotroot

      Guns are on par with marshal arts? Forget equipping solders with rifles, they just need about 10-hours of kung-fu training to take out insurgents with quick chops to the throat!

      February 22, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. SiriusVH

    I think that this is great. After a few years, the only people walking on the campuses of the colleges allowing guns would be the worst students and the worst faculty (the best ones would have gone elsewhere to study and teach with peace of mind). That will make the job of employers easier: they will know that if you got your degree from such places, your degree is worth didly!

    February 22, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • rhthomas333

      your an idiot....its ignorant comments like this that embellish the situation. Get some training, get a CWP, and then make a comment (for or against) that is written with some common sense.

      February 23, 2011 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Captain Underpants

      Sirius, did your mother drink while she was pregnant with you, or did you eat lead paint chips when you were younger?

      February 23, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
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