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. Scoobs

    Finally! I hope this passes and opens the gate for other states.

    February 23, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • cpl

      I totally agree with you and I think this needs to be passed for everyone.

      February 23, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • skipfrmdc

      ....these are the least responsible people when it comes to owning guns. Until you actually shoot and kill someone you have NO idea what you're talking about. Until the "accident" befalls someone YOU care about, those kinds of statemnts sound good on paper, but obviously a lot of you have never attended college or university or you would be appalled by the very suggestion. It is because someone brought a GUN to campus that many people DIED. Didn't Mark Chapman teach you guys anything?

      February 23, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Earnán

      skipfrmdc:

      Utah and Colorado have allowed students and teachers with concealed-carry permits to legally carry guns on college campuses for years.

      For some reason not a single person has been harmed by a student or teacher with a carry permit?

      HONEST DECENT PEOPLE WITH CONCEALED CARRY PERMITS ARE NOT THE PROBLEM.

      Criminals and psychotics are the problem. And all banning guns on campus has ever accomplished was to make it a "safe work environment" for them to murder people.

      February 23, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • cpl

      skipfrmdc

      actually I am a full time student at a four year university studying criminal justice and have done many ride along programs with various pd around the state of michigan so I have the education I would want to be able to know i am safe with my gun on my side

      February 24, 2011 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
  2. Eddie

    I go to college in Texas. Having guns of campus would make things worse. Never know if the person right next to me has a gun and is crazy enough to use it and kill me and everyone in the classroom. I'm more worried to go to college now, I rather take online classes then come to school. So I won't be one of the ones that get killed from someone who wants to use his or her gun when they have a mental breakdown. Texas your being STUPID!!! Get more Campus Police who know how to use guns.

    February 23, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cherries

      Eddie, I understand your point. You should be able to go to school and just learn! But, if some crazy decides to start shooting people, how is anyone going to stop them? Ask nicely? This law gives another person the power to draw thiers and shoot the shooter.

      February 23, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • buzzoven

      Uhh, if someone is crazy and wants to shoot up the place, he likely doesn't care that it's illegal to bring a gun on campus. If the fact that murder is against the law isn't going to stop hime, neither will the gun free zone.

      You are more likely to win the lottery on the same day you get hit by lightning than you are to be shot by someone licensed to carry concealed (unless you happen to be a robber, carjacker, etc). Your chance of ever being shot at all is probably akin to being hit by lightning as long as a) your not a criminal, b) you're not in a gang, c) you don't deal drugs, d) you avoid high crime areas, expecially at night and e) you avoid hanging around with people who fit into a-c.

      February 23, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eddie

      We all need to protect ourselves i know. But that should be out of school. School is for learning. I live on a farm. I drive to school everyday takes 30 mins. But the farm is different. We need protection from people who want to steal from out property. Thats why I have guns at home. For me and my family safely. I hate to get to the point. When I go to school. I'll make sure I dont gorget my backpack with my books, my wallet, and my handgun. That sounds too much. Here in El Paso we are next door o Juarez, Mexico. WIth all the killings. But i know Juarez viloence won't come here. Thats why Im not afraid. But still even all in TEXAS. Guns should be off Campus.

      February 23, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • cpl

      having more campus police wont really do nothing because you still are going to have to wait for response time and from the time you call 911 and wait for law enforcement to come a lot of people can be killed if you have a person who has a cpl they can take care of the problem right away but i do think their should be a psych test given to anyone who obtains a cpl

      February 23, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Earnán

      Eddie:

      Do you believe in Santa Claus? The Tooth Fairy?

      Because that's all that your belief that a ban on guns on campus amounts to: believing that people who are bringing a gun to campus TO MURDER PEOPLE will be stopped by a law that says they can't.

      February 23, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. buzzoven

    Sounds good to me. I know that to get a permit to carry in Texas, you have to be fingerprinted, go through state and federal background checks, attend a full day class, pass a written test on gun laws, and pass a shooting proficiency test, and fork out a few hundred dollars. Get caught drinking while carrying and you lose your permit and likely take a trip to the pokey.

    To look at it another way, guns are illegal on campus currently. Morons and kooks are still bringing guns to campus and shooting people. The laws did not stop that from happening. On the flip side, the laws were followed by the rantional, responsible people who were gunned down and as a result had a near zero chance to defend against or stop such attacks. In summary, laws making campuses "gun free" do nothing to stop a person bent on murder but do make it easier for them to carry out their rampage.

    February 23, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. escs

    Guns on campus, ridiculous! Let's go back to the western days when all you had to do is pull out your pistol to get justice.

    February 23, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • sawdust_munkey

      Ok, its settled, lets do this, rapist and theives will think twice or get real fast.

      February 23, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Cat

    I love the idea! I personally do not like sitting in a classroom, knowing that SOMEONE in my class could be at a point in their life where they feel the need to go on a rampage and the only thing I have to protect myself is a Number 2 pencil. I'm not some paranoid freak but at the same time, it's just smart. People automatically assume that the students with the concealed weapons are going to become emotional and start bullet war or something if someone decided to shoot up the school. But I can guarantee you those same people will be looking to the students with guns for protection should the event ever rise. And as they said in Miss Congeniality, "Of course he had a gun. This is Texas, everybody has a gun. My florist has a gun!"

    February 23, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. blondie

    Let's face it–This is not about guns. All we need is a campus shootout at the OK Corral. This is about the Republicans and their partnership with the NRA. Just look at the governor of Texas, what an embarrassment. I question both the judgment of the student population, and the politicians advocating this. I get rather tired of hearing the regular NRA rhetoric of "guns don't kill people, people kill people. While that may be true to a point, a person with only a knife certainly can't kill as many people as one with a semiautomatic.

    February 23, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blondie

      The same can be said about a drunk driver in a Ford Fiesta vs. a Kenworth tractor & trailer. STOP TRYING TO GIVE AWAY MY RIGHTS!

      February 23, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. YoYoJo

    Oh, yeah...... Let´s relive the UT tower shooting....or just another random shooting.... STUPID!!!!!!!

    February 23, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Earnán

      Yes, having rules and laws against bringing guns on campus worked so well there.

      Why, those rules worked as well as the laws against murder!

      Idiot.

      February 23, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Good vs. Bad

    If that person walking behind you carrying a gun 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 you are 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 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Michael

    People, we are all aware of the fact that some of us are PRO-gun and others are ANTI-gun; let's leave that topic out of the equation for now and focus on the realistic threat of some nut in or at a school with the intent of hurting someone with a gun. Although I know it's not in all cases but, often times, these sniper types use a rifle, a long range highly accurate hunting type weapon. Do you actually think little Suzie with a .38 snub-nosed pistol is going to be able to protect herself from such an attack? The answer is "NO", she is as vulnerable as anyone else in the building.

    Again, leaving gun control out of this, inviting concealed weapons into schools is a recipe for disaster, I promise you.

    February 23, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Velociraptor

      This is actually a good point. I propose that we amend this proposed bill to specify that 1 in every 5 armed students needs to be carrying a semi-automatic rifle, rather than just a handgun. I feel that's a fairly solid proportion to defend against people at close OR long range.

      February 23, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Earnán

      And yet the longed-for bloodbaths haven't happened in Utah or Colorado, where students and professors with concealed carry permits have been legally carrying guns on campus for years.

      February 23, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • R D

      I understand where you're coming from but honestly just because a person is shooting with a rifle doesn't make them any stronger not to mention that when most school shootings happen, people are shot at close range. Not to mention the fact that if the person is using a rifle or not I would still rather have my pistol than my pencil

      February 24, 2011 at 4:04 am | Report abuse |
  10. Tom

    None of the supporters are addressing the obvious. One guy shoots another, and then CLAIMS it was self defense. No witnesses. Classic case of "he said she said". Gun supporters are more likely to believe him/her. This creates an easier way to get away with murder, disguised as self defense. Or at least have a chance to get away with it.

    Just wait until the right wing nuts start shooting the "communists" and begin to make the "bleeding hearts" actually bleed from their hearts.

    A quick "safety" course, a signature, and a background check are minimal precaution, and if concealed is allowed with a permit, those without permits are more likely to get away with having weapons too, because it will be considered normal to have a handgun on your person (handguns serve only one purpose, to kill people).

    Or how about when someone, with very good intentions, is mistaken. You know, it happens from time to time. Someone suspects that someone else is a murderer or a rapist and decides to go vigilante, which is what this proposed law is basicallyb advocating. Don't wait for the police, take things into your own hands. But then it turns out, this person was wrong. It was a mistake, and now someone innocent is dead. I'm sure many who support this don't care about that at all.

    The "right to bear arms" is specificically in regards to an armed militia revolting against an oppressive governmment. It is not meant to create an army of vigilantes who seek their own flavor of "justice".

    Might is not right. Bullying is not a commendable virtue. Throughout history violence always leads to more violence. One killing is answered with retaliation, and feuds become wars. Fear and intimidation don't win hearts and minds, ever.

    To all who welcome a return to the horrific Wild West, and don't seem to understand that violence begets violence. Please understand, that you, your beliefs, and your actions (including voting) are part of the problem, NOT part of the solution.

    What we need right now are solutions.

    February 23, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mave

      Let me respond to this person's opinions...

      "None of the supporters are addressing the obvious. One guy shoots another, and then CLAIMS it was self defense. No witnesses. Classic case of "he said she said". Gun supporters are more likely to believe him/her. This creates an easier way to get away with murder, disguised as self defense. Or at least have a chance to get away with it. "

      – If this is an "easy" way to get away with murder, then our police and investigators whose job it is to determine the validity of such actions aren't doing a very good job. I am also sure that there are alot of easier ways than going through the whole process of obtaining the license and the firearm. Not to mention that if someone has such a blatant disregard for law or life as to commit such a crime, do you really think a little rule such as no carrying firearms on campus is going to stop them?

      "Just wait until the right wing nuts start shooting the "communists" and begin to make the "bleeding hearts" actually bleed from their hearts."

      – Does this even need a response?

      "A quick "safety" course, a signature, and a background check are minimal precaution, and if concealed is allowed with a permit, those without permits are more likely to get away with having weapons too, because it will be considered normal to have a handgun on your person (handguns serve only one purpose, to kill people)."

      – I wouldn't consider the requirements for buying a firearm or obtaining a license minimal, however, if the restrictions were to be raised to what might be considered "maximum" level when compared to what you believe is minimal, the result would be the same as you are seeing at schools, churches, and many other public venues where people are unable to protect themselves, gunmen having defenseless victims as far as they can see. Also, handguns have a wide range of uses including hunting, sporting, and defensive purposes. But I guess the other purposes do not serve your argument.

      "Or how about when someone, with very good intentions, is mistaken. You know, it happens from time to time. Someone suspects that someone else is a murderer or a rapist and decides to go vigilante, which is what this proposed law is basicallyb advocating. Don't wait for the police, take things into your own hands. But then it turns out, this person was wrong. It was a mistake, and now someone innocent is dead. I'm sure many who support this don't care about that at all."

      – I believe that you are contradicting yourself here. You are aligning a person "with very good intentions" with a vigilante. It is not a mistake, as you put it, if they take the law into their own hands. At that point you are not a law abiding citizen defending yourself, you are a criminal. Again I point out, if someone is willing to go that far to criminal actions, do they really care if there is a rule saying that they are not allowed to carry a firearm on campus? There was no mistake made here, someone took criminal action. I will also go as far as to say that perhaps the "innocent" in your story might survive if they were a law abiding firearm carrier allowed to carry on campus and could defend themselves from the "vigilante".

      "The "right to bear arms" is specificically in regards to an armed militia revolting against an oppressive governmment. It is not meant to create an army of vigilantes who seek their own flavor of "justice"."

      – This right has been in and out of court and so far it has been held up as, and is, an individual right. Also, I think your use of vigilantes has been dealt with in the previous statement up above.

      "Might is not right. Bullying is not a commendable virtue. Throughout history violence always leads to more violence. One killing is answered with retaliation, and feuds become wars. Fear and intimidation don't win hearts and minds, ever."

      – Here you are equating carrying a firearm with "might" and "bullying" and "retaliation". None of these hit on the fact that this would be a step taken for someone to be able to defend themselves from those who would use "might" or "bullying". If someone is using a firearm in a forceful way as these two words describe, then they are committing a criminal act and again, would not hesitate to commit another criminal act which would be carrying a firearm when prohibited by law. "Retaliation" I believe has already been covered with the same response as vigilantes up above.

      "To all who welcome a return to the horrific Wild West, and don't seem to understand that violence begets violence. Please understand, that you, your beliefs, and your actions (including voting) are part of the problem, NOT part of the solution.
      What we need right now are solutions."

      – I agree with you that we do need a solution, and the utopian solution would be for there to never be a firearm in the hands of a criminal. However, I believe that most people realize that it is a near impossibility for that to happen. So until that day comes, it is not only the right, but also the responsibility of every person to look to their own defense and that of their family and for now, the best defense is a firearm and having the knowledge and expertise to use it.

      February 23, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Earnán

      Your fantasy drivel is the same manure gun-banners have spewed every time concealed carry laws were reformed.

      They were crap then and they're crap now.

      The FACTS are that none of these bloodthirsty fantasies have come to pass. People aren't being "gunned down in fender-bender arguments" and the streets aren't "running with the blood of innocent bystanders" and the parks aren't choked with heaps of bodies from "Old West shoot-out justice" gun-battles.

      The FACTS are that the murder rate in the US has PLUNGED over 50% since "shall issue" concealed carry laws began to spread, and that the majority of American citizens live in states that allow ordinary decent people to carry guns.

      Utah and Colorado have been allowing college students and professors with concealed carry permits to carry guns on campus for years and NOT A SINGLE PERSON HAS BEEN HARMED IN AN ACCIDENT OR CRIME BY A LEGAL GUN OWNER.

      February 23, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • R D

      Of the 2.5 million times citizens use their guns to defend themselves every year, the overwhelming majority merely brandish their gun or fire a warning shot to scare off their attackers. Less than 8% of the time, a citizen will kill or wound his/her attacker.
      Armed citizens kill more crooks than do the police. Citizens shoot and kill at least twice as many criminals as police do every year (1,527 to 606) And "only 2 percent of civilian shootings involved an innocent person mistakenly identified as a criminal. The ‘error rate’ for the police, however, was 11 percent, more than five times as high.

      Your point has no statistical backing

      February 24, 2011 at 4:08 am | Report abuse |
  11. LLBD

    Guns don't kill, stupid people use guns to kill. I will not go to any university or college in any state that allows guns on the campus – most students don't understand using a weapon has consequences, they haven't built up that internal voice that warns when they are about to make a stupid move. No common sense – please, don't be stupid enough to pass this bill.

    February 23, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Hova

    a wise man once said never argue with fools- b/c from a distance you can't tell who is who
    -Jigga

    February 23, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. John

    It is a BASIC HUMAN RIGHT to be able to protect ourselves no matter where you are.It's hard to protect yourself when some idiot comes into a classroom with a gun and starts shooting.He does not care about the law or what sign is posted on the door.You are sitting there obeying the law(not having gun)and there's nothing you can do about it.Put yourself in those shoes and tell me would you prefer you or someone in the room have a gun to possibly save lives or just lay there and hope you don't get killed.Another thing to look at on the issue of it making everybody scared to be around the person with the gun is that right now most of the time you go out to a public place you are around people carrying concealed and you probably don't even know it.

    February 23, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • skipfrmdc

      ...so multiple guns will aleviate the problem? It amazes me how stupid otherwise reasonable people can be. The wild west is OVER. You pay to be protect by Professionals. I'd love to have $10.00 for every law suite the passage of this law will bring. Giving the power of life and death to private citizens off their own property is not only irresponsible (who can say when they themselves will freak out and start shooting because they Think something is happening?) If you've lived long enough to know ANYTHING about people is THEY ARE UNPREDICTABLE. When is Texas and other states considering these types of statutes going to realize this is the 21st CENTURY? John Wayne never heard a shot fired in anger in his life. Your criminal hearoes (Billy the Kid, Jesse James, John dillinger et al ) have met their timely demises and we still lionize them. Well guess what? You reap what you sow.

      February 23, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • KyleUT

      to Skip, from DC, there are so many typos in your argument I am unsure where to begin. I am a student at the university of Texas in Austin. A few months ago a guy named Colton came on to campus with an AK 47. fired 7 or 8 shots, ran around for 50 MINUTES before he killed himself in a library. My friend came face to face with him in the stairs. Do you know anything about firearms? This guy could have easily had four or five high capacity magazines or more, and gone class to class for 50 MINUTES to an hour before the cops even got to him. I have to wait for these pros(cops)? A former military serviceman i know cannot carry his concealed handgun on campus, and is trained infinitely better than a police officer, especially in stressful situations. People also argue the citizens with these CHLs shoot more often than regular police officers. It is a skill. You want to tell me, I have to sit in class and hope that this guy doesn't choose my 9 AM philosophy class because he failed a test? I have a class this semester with roughly 350 kids and two exits. It takes 5 minutes to file out of class. In a panic what do you think will happen? Utah has a similar law in place. Have you heard any horror stories there? That would be all over the news for weeks and you know it. Roughly 450,000 people have these licenses in Texas. Across the street from campus there are people walking around with their handguns, legally concealed. Pull your head out. Can you even breathe in there? refer to the first page of comments, where the cop discusses how she supports this idea. Also, stay out our politics. Do yourself a favor, and look up what happened in DC when handguns were banned. What did the violent crime rate do? I forgot? And why would they lift that ban if it was such a good idea in the first place? Think before you think, draw a concept map, and then reply.

      February 23, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Earnán

      KyleUT:

      Well said.

      Both Colorado and Utah have allowed students and professors with concealed carry permits to carry guns on campus for years. They have NEVER had a problem.

      Skip's bloody fantasies sound like Skip projecting his issues on the rest of us.

      February 23, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. freddy

    I think that having concealed hand guns is an amazing idea...

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

      ...lemme tell you where you can hide yours.

      February 23, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Earnán

      skipfrmdc

      Why am I not surprised, that like so many gun-phobes, you resort to insults and threats directed at those you disagree with?

      February 23, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. remikus

    Is this true?: http://gizmodo.com/#!5768502/undercover-tsa-agent-sneaks-gun-through-airports-full+body-scanners-five-times

    February 23, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • rhthomas333

      Wow this is interesting.
      Don't know if its true or not because the website seems odd and I didn't see any reliable sources backing it up but still interesting.

      February 24, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
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