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. andremc

    I like this idea, I live in New York and it is impossible to get a gun here, students from my school are robbed on and off campus often enough for everyone to want to protect themselves.

    February 23, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • skipfrmdc

      ...soooo, if you mistake me and my intentions it's alright to shoot me? THINK! Who is qualified among us to make life and death decisions? Having served in a War Zone I can tell you MISTAKES HAPPEN. Insurance companies and ambulance chasers are going to have a field day with this one.

      February 23, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Cheaterville

    WHAT?!!! CONCEALED GUNS IN SCHOOL IS LUDICROUS!! but not as ludicrous as www. cheaterville.com !! You can post about a cheater anonymous and free!! Free email notifications for you and anyone you know once you register! 7 out of 10 spouses cheat dont worry yours isnt one of them......

    February 23, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Middle of Michigan

    You are looking at a very small percentage of students that would be able to carry at a college. The average age of a college student falls between 18-20. Students 21 and older are going to be most likely a senior or leaving in a couple years. I am not for having guns at a college, but it is not like every student is going to have a gun on them. You are looking at maybe 4 to 5 kids per class even old enough to have a license to carry, and maybe only 1 or 2 of them will even do it.

    February 23, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Canadian laughing you Americans

    Rambo lives on in US Senator Jeff Wentworth! Take no prisoners and keep the undertakers busy. American job creation at its best. Bravo.

    February 23, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Earnán

      And yet as state after state in the US has passed laws allowing ordinary people to carry concealed handguns, the US murder rate has PLUNGED, dropping over 50% since the 1990s when "shall issue" carry permit laws started to spread.

      Meanwhile Canada has passed more gun control laws, and your murder rate has barely budged.

      Not so funny, is it?

      February 23, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. doubtful

    What? You want to take the testosterone infussed college campus - scene of binge driking, keg parties, and students who run amuck whenever a team wins a championship and you want to add guns to that equation. And you're doing this to make campus life safer. What are you smoking??

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

      On most campuses, the majoirty of drinking and partying goes on OFF campus, where the ban does not apply and people already can and do carry legally. This primarily applies to classrooms and people walking to and from their car and or classes which is not usually a testosterone filled scene of binge drinking.

      A concealed carry permit holder has already shown themselves to be law abiding through the backgroud check and through jumping through the hoops and paying the expenses to carry legally. If they weren't they wouldn't bother and would carry without a permit. In the state of Texas, if you are carrying while drinking at all (even one beer), you're breaking the law. Few, if any, permit holders will risk their permit and a police record to drink and carry. If they do, they can and should be punished.

      February 23, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Trigun

    Lets look at it this way. The argument against concealed carry surmizes that someone will break the law and harm people. And what stops them from doing that anyway? To conceal carry in texas, you must be 21 ( or 18 if you are active duty military,) have passed a fbi background check and a state background check certifying that you are not a criminal or have serious mental health problems, attended a 10 hour class and passed both a written and firearm test. On top of that, these people have spent hundreds of dollars to take the class and pay for the licensing. And the anti-gun people are wanting me to be afraid of these people? Im sorry, but these people are the same ones conceal carrying in grocery stores, the movie theater, banks, resteraunts etc. If you are worried about this law, reflect which state you are currenting residing in and think about moving to a place where conceal carrying is almost impossible say California.

    February 23, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kat

    They are going to put their guns right next to their bibles

    February 23, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Chris

    I would post this as a parralell: In iraq in January I believe, an iraqi soldier attacked his fellow iraqi friends and US trainers during training. At the time, everyone involved had been told to not bring ammo for their weapons..they were training after all. Said Iraqi soldier hid a magazine under his vest however, and killed 3 American soldiers and shot several others, including fellow iraqi warriors. Everyone was forced to merely try to hide from the armed mad man until the gate guard, made up of PFC's primarily, arrived with loaded weapons. What would have happened if the entired unit had been loaded? Perhaps he may still have attacked...but knowing your attacking an armed (potentially as well) gathering is a much riskier and dedicated act than attacking those you know can't defend themselves. Please note that this was not criticism of any act in Iraq, I only used it as a relatively similar example to the Virginia Tech shooting.

    February 23, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. rhthomas333

    just wondering.

    What do people think of a cop (on or off duty) or a soldier carrying a sidearm on campus? and
    If you are against guns on campus are you also against carrying everywhere else?
    just asking

    February 24, 2011 at 12:27 am | Report abuse |
  10. gunscreateproblems

    It's hard for me to think this is a good idea when you consider that places with less restrictive gun laws have higher rates of violent crimes. I can just imagine two students at school getting into a fistfight that suddenly becomes a shootout. In any situation where there are lethal weapons involved, escalation is often easy and not to mention, deadly.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:49 am | Report abuse |
  11. mickey(navy vet)

    less murders happened in the old west,when gun belts were worn then their are today.why should the bad guys be the only people with guns.

    February 24, 2011 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  12. Smokingman

    The Archie Bunker solution is now to be a Texas law...... that is so funny that it's scary.

    February 24, 2011 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  13. Allen

    I don't trust anyone with a gun, with the exception of our troops and our cops. Why should I trust a civilian I don't even know, to carry a weapon that could kill me, family members, a friend, etc...? Why should I be forced to trust a complete stranger to carry a lethal weapon? How do you prove to me that you are trustworthy? Will you post the names of people carrying guns so I can avoid them? Will you get a psych exam yearly and post the results so we can catch you before you crack? God forbid we have another Virginia Tech!

    Will you do yearly certification and refresher training so we can make sure you know what you’re doing? Will you carry insurance so you can pay the bills in case someone steals you gun and harms somebody else? Can we attach a tracking device to your weapon to make sure you and your gun were not at the scene of a crime? It's bad enough to have criminals carrying guns because they are so easy to get, but now you'll have to worry about some kid thinking he's "Rambo" and starting crossfire with some nut with a gun! What happens in the confusion? Are other people gonna pull their weapons? There could be even more casualties!

    And the argument that it hasn't happened so far at other schools is ridiculous, it just means it hasn't happened yet! It’s like saying, “There’s never been an accident on my street,” as a justification to prove that an accident will never happen on your street!

    February 24, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  14. Kyrre

    Immature cowboystate

    February 24, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jake F.

    "When seconds count the police are minutes away." Truer words have rarely been spoken as such I, a current student in a Texas college, am hoping this passes. Most of the opposers seem to be hung up on "everyone will have guns" and seem to believe that if anything happens it will tern into a big Hollywood style shootout. This is just not the case. As I hope everyone knows and as it says in the article you have to pass background checks, pay a few hundred bucks, take a ten hour class, pass an exam, and prove their ability with a gun. Only a very small percentage of people go through all this and get their CHL, then they carry pretty much anywhere else. Tell me when was the last time a couple dozen civilians had a gun battle anywhere? The arguments of the detractors are based out of ignorance and fear. Something like less than 1% of criminals are CHL holders and areas that allow concealed weapons have time and again shown to have less violent crime than before the laws went into effect. Also once you obtain a CHL you are held more to the law than other individuals. Most of those carrying will not even be young adults but the older folks coming back to get their degrees or those individuals that had joined the armed forces to pay for college and as such would have further training.

    If I knew that the guy next to me, my teacher, or anyone else had jumped through all the hoops to be recognized as a legal and licensed weapon holders I would have no problem if they carry a gun in my class. Really when people say that a CHL holder would not have made a difference that day in Virginia it just blows my mind, they also need to remember at UT Austin the reason there were no more deaths was because students, armed with guns from their cars, kept Whitman pinned down until the police took him out.

    February 24, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
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