Allow Students to Carry Guns on College Campuses?
By James P. Tucker Jr.
Texas legislators plan to push a law that would permit college students to carry concealed weapons on campus, citing the Virginia Tech incident in 2007 when a disturbed young Asian man shot and killed 32 unarmed fellow students in one morning before committing suicide.
That story was never fully explored regarding the man’s strange background and the true reasons that he mercilessly attacked students. But what is known is that police were woefully tardy in responding and many lives would have been spared if at least some students had been armed, as campus concealed-weapons advocates argue.
State Sen. Jeff Wentworth and Rep. Joe Driver are sponsoring the measure to allow students who meet certain conditions to be armed. Since the Virginia Tech incident, several copycat attackers have been stopped by armed students.
Driver (R-Garland) has filed H.B. 1983, while Wentworth (R-San Antonio) has filed S.B. 1164.
Texas enacted a concealed handgun law in 1995, allowing people 21 and older to carry concealed weapons if they pass a training course and background check. Schools, businesses and churches, if they wish, can set rules banning guns inside their establishments.
On college campuses, guns are banned in buildings, dorms and certain grounds surrounding them. The planned legislation would impact only colleges. Lawmakers in support of allowing students to be armed appear to have a powerful ally in Republican Gov. Rick Perry, though in an election year Perry’s words have to be carefully filtered.
“There are already guns on campus,” Perry told the Associated Press. “All too often they are illegal. I want there to be legal guns on campus. I think it makes sense—and all the data supports—that if law-abiding, well-trained, ‘backgrounded’ individuals have a weapon, then there will be less crime.”
Interest in the issue erupted after a man ran around the University of Texas campus firing wildly on Sept. 28, 2010. Colton Joshua Tooley then ran into a library and shot himself. No one else was injured. But there was a lot of discussion about how much worse it could have been. If more people carried guns, many argue, schools would be safer.
“There are a lot of combat veterans like me, and if we had concealed carry, the threat would be reduced significantly,” said Casey Kelver, 25, a student and Army veteran from Houston who did two tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Instead you’re left to sit there and wait for somebody to come save you.”
Perry’s Democratic opponent for the governor’s seat, Bill White of Houston, says that he supports the state law that lets people with licenses carry concealed handguns. But individual schools should decide whether to allow guns on their premises, he said. White claimed that Perry’s position is “the government ought to coerce campuses to allow concealed handguns on campus.”
Daniel Crocker, a Texas A&M student and board member of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, said it is absurd to have an “invisible line” at the edge of campus, inside of which guns are forbidden. Lawabiding citizens heed the line but criminals do not, he said. “There was one fundamental problem” with the Sept. 28 incident in Austin, Crocker said. “Everyone was depending on the kindness and mercy of a deranged lunatic.”
An increasing number of campuses are allowing guns, Crocker said, but they are not the majority. His group also supports letting students defend themselves against thousands of other crimes that occur on campuses, such as rapes and robberies.
AFP editor James P. Tucker Jr. is a veteran journalist who spent many years as a member of the “elite” media in Washington. Since 1975 he has won widespread recognition, here and abroad, for his pursuit of on-the-scene stories reporting the intrigues of global power blocs such as the Bilderberg Group. Tucker is the author of Jim Tucker’s Bilderberg Diary: One Man’s 25-Year Battle to Shine the Light on the World Shadow Government. Bound in an attractive full-color softcover and containing 272 pages—loaded with photos, many never published before—the book recounts Tucker’s experiences over the last quarter century at Bilderberg meetings. $25 from AFP. No charge for S&H in U.S.
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(Issue # 43, October 25, 2010)