Texas is poised to give college students and teachers the right to pack heat on campus.
More than half of the state’s House of Representatives have signed onto the measure, which permits concealed weapons at universities. The senate, which backed a similar bill in 2009, is expected to support the House’s legislation.
Sen Jeff Wentworth of San Antonio said that at the moment, students are “sitting ducks” if someone opens fire in a classroom. “The only option now is to hide behind their desks or play dead,” said a spokesman for Students for Concealed Carry on Campus.
The bill already has the support of Republican Gov Rick Perry, who occasionally takes his pistol on his morning runs.
Utah has already passed a similar law, while Colorado gives universities the option of allowing concealed handguns.
Only 25 colleges currently allow concealed campus carry. Legislators in about 20 states have proposed such measures since the Virginia Tech massacre.
Victims of Virginia Tech have traveled to Texas to oppose the bill. Colin Goddard, who survived the 2007 shooting spree by pretending he was dead, said: It was the craziest day of my life with one person walking around with two guns. I can’t even imagine what it would have been like with multiple students and multiple guns.”
Are we or are we not becoming the most paranoid society on the planet? Even with the horrors of VA Tech and Tucson, violent crime is down dramatically across the country, and yet we are being encouraged to live in such fear of each other and our government that we need such protection. This is no way to live.
So, kids will graduate from a high school with metal detectors to enter a university where the state encourages students to keep pistols in their backpacks. Mix signals much? I know, let’s throw our children into situations they’re unprepared for with a gun.
Even if we accept that only students with a CHL will be allowed on campus with a weapon, a CHL doesn’t give someone hostage rescue and counter-terrorism training. They’ll have a gun and ZERO experience firing it under the stress of screaming and unexpected gunfire and fear of imminent death.
First, imagine a classroom full of students who’ve managed to let down their guard and forget everyone is armed; imagine they’re fully engrossed in a lecture or exam or just relaxing with friends between class. When a psychopath shows up and starts picking them off, the utter surreal shock of the situation is guaranteed to cause a reaction delay during which people will die. When these self-styled Air Marshals –randomly distributed around any given event– get their weapons drawn and begin firing in the direction of fire through the shrieking chaos of panicked students ducking and running into each other, the odds of more people dying go through the roof.
Second, imagine the CHL students never let down their guard; imagine they stay twitchy and keep weapons at the ready. They’re not likely to focus well on academics and their agitation will likely keep others on edge. They’re more likely to overreact and shoot the janitor who barges into class waiving a walkie-talkie yelling “FIRE.” Even if they react appropriately to a real shooter, they’re simply not trained to shoot back with any accuracy under stress and through a crowd. People will die.
Third, these lunatics we’re trying to defend against go into action fully expecting or even planning to die. They just hope to kill as many as possible before the end. An armed student body will only suggest different tactics. We’ll get more snipers and maybe a few suicide bombers. People will die.
Fourth, this bill assumes a lone crazy who takes the bold step of carrying a gun to campus and snapping. I’d suggest there’s more than one crazy running around and this bill just obviates the need for that bold step, requiring them only to snap.
And really, let’s be honest: Which is more likely to occur within five years of the passage of this law?
a) Drunk student fooling around shoots him/herself or another student
b) Argument gets out of hand, student gets shot
c) Armed marauder gets taken down cleanly with a shot to the head by a steady-handed student vigilante
d) Crazed marauder considers killing many, but then realizes that due to the large numbers of student gun carriers, his plan is illogical, and chooses to abort
Granted, all are a possible, but which seem more likely?
Bonus question: This proposal is motivated by:
a) A deep abiding desire to protect students’ safety
b) A desire to by the NRA and the gun companies to enlist future supporters and customers among young impressionable minds, in a practice akin to the now-illegal practice of credit card companies staking out spots on campus to secure future customers
These incidents –the Virginia Tech massacre specifically– illustrate failure of state handgun laws, failure of mental health professionals, failure of faculty and parents to recognize and properly deal with a noticeably unstable individual, NOT the failure of students to properly defend themselves.
I am not against personal protection or for abolition of gun ownership, but this bill will not prevent future horrifying events and may be reasonably expected to cost lives. It is an ignorant leap in the wrong direction.