Democratic Chair Schedules “Guns in College Classrooms” Bill for Hearing Over Spring Break

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It happens like clockwork. Students leave for spring break, and the Legislature schedules a hearing for bills which would force colleges and universities to allow students to carry guns in classrooms.

I know about the dangers of guns in classrooms first-hand. I lost my girlfriend, Maxine Turner, at Virginia Tech, nearly six years ago. She never even saw her killer enter the room.

This legislation is part of an ideological agenda having nothing to do with campus safety. Worse, it's being done despite long-standing objections from Virginia Tech survivors, UT Tower shooting survivors, Texas police chiefs, students, parents, faculty members, and university administrators.

It's also being done against the explicit recommendation of the Virginia Tech Review Panel, the non-partisan group of experts appointed to study the Virginia Tech tragedy.

These bills are about one thing: selling guns to college students. And unfortunately, despite the objections of the Sandy Hook families and the Newtown superintendent of schools, the gun manufacturers are winning.

This week we learned that a hearing on the legislation had been scheduled over spring break, when most University of Texas students are out of town. This is not unusual; in the past, the hearing has been scheduled over spring break to prevent students from testifying.

But what is unusual is the person doing it. The chairman of the Texas House committee hearing campus carry is Joe Pickett, a Democrat from El Paso. He's one of only two Democrats on the committee (the other being Philip Cortez from San Antonio). Students for Gun-Free Schools Texas has been trying to get Chairman Pickett to reschedule the hearing, but so far he has refused to move it.

Our hopes of defeating this legislation will diminish drastically if Chairman Pickett calls a vote on the campus carry bills. We cannot beat it in the Texas House, and Senator Birdwell claims he has the votes he needs to pass it out of the Senate.


We Need Your Help:

Contact Chairman Pickett and ask him to please postpone the hearing until after spring break, to ensure that the college students, faculty, and staff impacted by the bill can weigh in.

Capitol Office: (512) 463-0596

Click Here to Email Chairman Pickett

Chairman Pickett is a good lawmaker, but he needs to understand that this legislation is being passed at the expense of students, not for their benefit. He should focus instead on popular policies like universal background checks, which 78% of Texans support (including 61% who strongly support the policy).

If “campus carry” becomes the law in Texas, it'll only further empower the gun manufacturers: they'll have a new market for firearms sales, even as more people are killed by firearms, and they'll re-invest that blood money into working against broadly-supported policies like universal background checks.

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  1. Guns + high stress environment = trouble
    As a professor, I have the task of sometimes giving bad news to students. They fail exams. They fail classes. They lose their financial aid, or are forced out of school altogether. I try to be as sympathetic as possible, and to be as good a teacher as possible, but I know that sometimes a student will leave my office depressed about their future and hating my guts. That comes with the territory.

    Now imagine that this student is armed. Will I still be able to do my job? Will I fear for my life? No, and yes!

    Everybody knows that crazy people plus guns equals trouble. Most of the attention is on background checks and other ways to keep crazies from getting guns, but that's backwards. A much bigger problem is people with guns going crazy.

    Not that gun-owners are any crazier than non-gun-owners. Everybody is at risk of snapping sometimes, especially when put under stress. Under enough pressure, I could flip, and so could you. With fists, we might give somebody a bloody nose. With guns, we might kill.

    Having more armed people on campus, under a ton of stress, is a recipe for disaster.  

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