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. FormerAggie

    This would just make it legal. I used to work at a university in Texas and knew people who were packin' every day to protect themselves.

    February 23, 2011 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  2. jon

    First it's not that we need tougher gun laws. What is needed is stricter punishment for those people who have a firearm incident.
    There also needs to be a way to have those with mental issues put on the gun ban list. It's almost an act of congress to have someone put on that list.
    Next there needs to be more vigilance from students and professors. If people see something that is not right ,report it. Case in point with Cho (Virginia Tech) it was known that he had mental problems, yet people decided to do nothing. The same thing with Loughner ( Tucson, Arizona) And then lets not forget about Hassan (Fort Hood). All three of these men were known by their peers to have some type of mental instability. Yet nothing was done. So no matter where you are there is a possibility that something like this could happen. I agree, however, that allowing students to carry concealed, has the potential of having a negative outcome if there is a school shooting. At the same time I agree that having students not just faculty with concealed carry permits will act as a deterrent to some suicidal mentally deranged person from just coming in and shooting the place. I disagree with allowing only teachers and staff to carry concealed because I have seen teachers snap on students. It should be a process to get a firearm and a concealed carry permit. Based on the wording of some states concealed carry also means the ability to carry a TASER (Thomas A Smith’s Electric rifle) . Even a TASER has the ability to protect and defend against an aggressor. So that may be an option instead of a gun. The idea here is the ability to protect our self, whether that means the use of a gun or a TASER or baton.

    February 23, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • KyleUT

      This article is poor. If students do not read it correctly, it may convey the idea that any student or professor can come on to campus with a gun. The words "student" and "professor" are not seen in the bill.
      Please refer to this http://www.dailytexanonline.com/content/firing-line-simply-untrue-dangerously-untrue
      I am a student at the Univeristy of Texas. To people concerned with rivers of blood running in the streets, think about the thousands of people around you in movie theaters, grocery stores, and busy streets that are already carried concealed handguns because they have a license to do so. Also, a recent law in Texas lets anyone over the age of 21(legal to own a handgun) have a handgun loaded and concealed in their car. No license. So if someone wanted to go crazy, a quick stop by the car is all they need. We don't hear about that on the news much do we? When is the last time you heard on the news that someone with a concealed handgun license killed somebody? That would be all over the news, for weeks. The CHL also rules out most undergraduates, due to the fact that you must be 21, and have the money to obtatin a license. A man came on to my campus a few months ago with a legal AK-47. He fired shots randomly around campus for 50 MINUTES before he took his own life. I cannot begin to describe how much damage he could have caused if he wanted to(the idea of high capactiy magazines, magazine clips, body armor etc comes into play). As a student, am i supposed to sit in class-generally with 2 exits for over 200 kids- and hope i do not get shot? Since he was wandering around for 50 minutes is it realistic to think the cops will arrive in 5 minutes after the shooting starts? Also, people with CHLs are avid marksmen. The argument has been made that cops are tested less than people with CHLs test themselves. People who acquire these licenses are GOOD people trying to do good things, by protecting themselves and society. People who want to do BAD things, do not care if they cannot own a shotgun with a barrel of six inches, or that they cannot legally come onto a college campus with a gun.

      February 23, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Aiken

      Thank you KyleUT, you stated the point far clearer than i did, and you make some very valid points, and no i am not just be sarcastic

      February 23, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jc Ohio

    So if inorder to get a license you have to be atleast 21 years of age ... how does this bill do anything on a college campus where the majority of people are between 18 & 20?
    And just because mommy & daddy pay for the license and class and of course the weapon ... doesn't make little Tommy anymore responsible. Imagine the shoot-outs at Frat Keggers! The slaughter that could happen because they lost a football game to their biggest rivals!

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

      Darwinism at its finest.

      February 23, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Derek

    Uhm... It makes a little sense to let them carry concealed weapons. But if you think about it then when someone does want to shoot another person then they already have the gun. Instead of having fights on campus, we would have people shooting each other...

    February 23, 2011 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Trebec

      Really? I get in arguments all the time in my kitchen with my sister, but I don't reach for the knife block and stab her. Maybe some will. But if you have some kind of instability like that maybe you shouldn't be allowed to have a gun.

      February 23, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. banasy

    I love the comments "those who are against gun control are the ones who have never held one, or have ever known anyone who has owned one." All that says to me is that,gee, once you've picked one up, you'll be in love with it.

    Did it ever occur to anyone that a person might have an independent thought of their own, and might just really, really hate guns and the *lack* of gun control?

    Anyway, it is not the law-abiding citizens that we worry about...it's the criminal and the unstable that we worry about. How do we keep weapons out of *their* hands?

    Half of those Texas students are probably packing now. Half of the faculty, also. If this law were passed, I doubt there would be a rush to buy guns; it would just mean that the ones illegally packing are now legal. The people that don't believe in guns would *still* not believe in guns....

    February 23, 2011 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  6. Tank

    I am currently a student w a concealed weapons permit. I spent 4 yrs n the military so i do have lots of experience w weapons. My current GPA, no lie, isnt great but not bad either. Its holding steady @ 3.2.

    February 23, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  7. David

    They only post what they want their readers to see, this is censorship! Reveal the truth not from rose colored glasses.

    February 23, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  8. Trebec

    I carry a gun cause a cop is too heavy.

    February 23, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. banasy

    Trebec, post# 153: LMAO!

    February 23, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Gearóid Ó Ceallaigh

    Texas wants to play cowboys and indians. So, to do it right, these weapons should not be concealed. They should be worn low-down and tied-down, ready for slappin' leather. Just like little kids. Only fatal. As Mr. T says, I pity the poor fool who wants to live in Texas.

    February 23, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Earnán

      Amadán

      February 23, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tank

    Im a current student w a military background. My current GPA is holding steady @ 3.2. Im for this bill. I thik all states shld allow students over 21 and faculty to caRry concealed weapons if they know how to use the weapon. Id rather have my pistol on me and hope that i never have to use it than need to use it and not have it on me. Regardless of the law i know several current students both male and female that carry a concealed weapon w them in class and im sure this generation isnt the first. To my knowledge it hasnt caused any problems.

    February 23, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • rhthomas333

      I'm glad you brought up your GPA... I wonder how many people on here haven't even went to college?
      Everyone against this idea makes college students seem like a bunch of uncivilized people when we are actually some of the brightest people around.

      February 23, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Faye

    drunk driving is illegal. you can get thrown in jail or fined heavily. somehow, it STILL happens.

    being drunk and carrying a gun is illegal. you can get heavily fined and lose your license. but...catch my drift?

    college campuses are breeding grounds for drinking, especially at certain state schools. no matter how hard it is to get a license for carrying a concealed weapon, I would feel very unsafe if I suspected that people around me were carrying guns.

    the mind is a fragile thing...

    February 23, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike Moore

      how do you dress yourself? Students of higher education verse a cop with a GED...? Please carry every day with no issue, you dont even know. All the police I know are for it, they find that non-criminals usually don't shoot people by mistake. Grow so balls.

      February 23, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • George

      @Mike

      "Higher education"? Yeah you should go get one.

      February 23, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • mslman71

      People around you are carrying guns. Your level of awareness (or lack of it) is no measure of absolute "safety."

      February 23, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • BRIAN

      I'll put it very very simply
      If you have a gun and someone tries to shoot you then you can fight back
      If you don't have a gun you die... simple
      If you do just a little bit of research you'll find communities that it has been made a law that you must carry a gun crime rates have plummitted and communitties in which you are restricted to carry a gun the criminals still get guns and crime rates rise
      If Virginia students had the right to carry weapons yeah multiple guns would have been drawn and the max number of people who died would have been less than 10 for sure no doubts at all whatsoever

      February 28, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. banasy

    Chase, you Fresh Prince, you!

    February 23, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Detroit BLOWS

    Gun control ? are you kidding me, FREEDOM and Rights the right to own and hold or carry firearms. Guns dont kill people do.
    Dont be stupid.

    February 23, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boss hogg

      Newb Americans exercising their rights just for the sake of exercising them. More gun related murder in the us than any other developed country, the solution obviously being to carry more guns.... Right.... Since that's been working so well to date

      February 23, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • seriously?

      Yeah but the gun helps

      February 23, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • ccc

      Yes, people kill people... and guns make it alot easier for people to kill people.

      Go ahead, Texas, try this experiment. But my bet is that there'll be a lot more accidental shootings (showing off a gun to your roommate, drunkards swinging their pieces around at a frat party, etc) that'll take more lives than the once in a blue moon event of Virginia Tech and the like.

      February 23, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Earnán

      ccc:

      Colorado and Utah have allowed students and professors with concealed carry permits to carry guns on campus for years. NOT A SINGLE PERSON HAS BEEN HARMED IN AN ACCIDENT OR CRIME BY THESE LEGAL GUNS.

      February 23, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bill

    Apparently one school in North Texas already has a shooting club with a certified instructor. A caller to the Mike Gallagher show talked about "Texas Marksmen" at the University of North Texas yesterday. If they're being safe I don't see why this is such a big deal.

    February 23, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • skipfrmdc

      ...then you have very limited vision.

      February 23, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
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