“Guns on Campus” Bill Zooms through Texas Senate

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When House Bill 1893 failed to come to a vote in the House before last week's deadline, opponents to allowing guns on campus rejoiced at what they thought was a major victory.  Now, they know, only Senate Bill 1164 would have to be stopped.

Unfortunately, once HB 1893 died, SB 1164 started rolling.  Last Thursday, on a 6-3 vote, the Senate Commitee on State Affairs reported the Guns on Campus bill favorably, bucking the desires of many student governments and university presidents across the state.  Today, the Republican-heavy Senate moved swiftly on the bill, preparing it to go to the House.

Hopefully, the amount of Democrats in the House will stymie the chances of a bill that is fundamentally against those wanting sound policy with our higher education institutions.  Such a favorable outcome is far from certain, though. Not only did a handfull of Democrats sign on as coauthors to HB 1893, but two Democrats in the Senate Joint Authored SB 1165: Eddie Lucio and Juan Hinojosa.  Those who followed the Place 1 City Council race here in Austin know of Eddie Lucio's un-Democratic votes on social issues, but that was not Perla Cavazos's fault — his negative deeds are continuing here.  As far as the second Senate Democrat, Juan Hinojosa; I have no idea why he signed on to such a negative bill.

The Democratic Party is supposed to be the party of education.  We are supposed to listen, with great respect, to those who make policy at our schools (i.e. university presidents) and to those who always feel the effects of said policy (i.e. the students).  One would think this issue is crystal clear, and I can only hope it becomes that way real soon for House Democrats.

Update: Thanks to commenter Fine Bottled Water.  He pointed out that there were other Democrats who voted for this in the Senate, too.  Senators Gallegos, Whitmire, and Uresti: Come on, guys.  

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    • This is not about self-defense
      There is virtually no violent crime on college campuses. Against what do you intend to defend yourself? That makes me very uncomfortable, you thinking you're seeing all this supposed crime. What poor student are you going to accidentally shoot because you feel persecuted?

      • in 3…2…1…
        Waiting for Bluefish to point to today's knife-point robbery at UT. Because adding a gun to that situation would help!

        Actually, the proposed law wouldn't change that situation at all since it occurred outside on campus where concealed carry permits are already allowed.  

        • More extreme far left blather from K-T M
          Thank goodness for Senator Whitmire and the others that broke ranks with the extreme left of our party. Common sense of self-defense overrules the grab your ankles and let it happen response that extreme left D's espouse. We need more Joe Horns!!

      • 5/4/70
        Kent State Massacre by Ohio National Guard. Four dead in Ohio, with nine wounded by sixty seven shots fired into a crowd of anti-war protesters in thirteen seconds.

        There was a significant national response to the shootings: hundreds of universities, colleges, and high schools closed throughout the United States due to a student strike of eight million students, and the event further divided the country, at this already socially contentious time, along political lines. I was in high school at the time in a very redneck part of Houston. There was an intense reaction, even at the high school level, to this event.

        Good thing students were not armed on college campuses during the Vietnam War. I am very pro-gun in general, but I am not up for guns in bars, hospitals, courthouses, churches, and schools unless they are carried by law enforcement officers. Let's make this a good common sense argument, not that all good Democrats are anti-gun rights in general and against guns on higher educational campuses in particular.

        • good for you
          I am glad that you are very pro-gun, but with a Texas CHL, guns are already allowed in liquor stores, churches, hospitals and amusement parks.  This is in the law and cannot be disputed.

          In fact, a CHL holder can go onto UT campus (or any other college campus) and walk around and be perfectly legal so long as he does not enter a building.  This law would simply allow a CHL holder to enter the building.  How does entering the building turn a responsible gun owner and CHL holder into a possible threat?

          • Property Rights
            If a property owner or organization chooses to ban weapons on their property that is their choice and right. I pack a pistol almost everywhere I go either on my hip or concealed. As a peace officer, I resent being disarmed at airports and at federal courthouses, but I learned to live with it.

            I also realize that if I am out of uniform and involved in an incident involving gun fire, I am subject to being hit by friendly fire from other peace officers responding to the incident. So if an officer tells you to drop a gun, you best do it, whether a CHL holder or not. I know I am.

          • property rights
            Since when does a government-run public institution of higher education have private property rights?

            If a private university doesn't want guns on campus, fine.  But a public institution is another matter.

          • Public Insitutions?
            The Travis County Courthouse is a government-run public institution also. So do you think CHL holders should have a right to pack their guns in court rooms as well as public college class rooms?

          • judges can
            Judges can carry inside a courtroom under TX law, and there are many incidences of judges going off the deep end or breaking laws.  I don't agree that they should be able to carry but nobody else can.  But that's beside the point.  

            However, due to the type of work that takes place in a courtroom, I agree that it is one of the very few places where guns should be restricted.  In a courtroom, you have a life and death decisions being made regarding the outcome of criminal and civil cases, and the chance for a convicted individual to come and take revenge against a judge/prosecutor is high, just as the chance is high for a victim's relative to go and try and take revenge against an accused individual.  I think that a college classroom is a completely different environment with completely different situations where the limiting of lawful possession of handguns is unwarranted.

    • And double fail to Bluefish
      Seeing now that you references the 1966 Tower shootings, I thought I would reply with the following from today's Austin Chronic Blog post.

      (Interesting to me that UT's tower shooting never came up in the debate. Perhaps because concealed carry permits didn't exist back then, and because numerous Austinites and students came running onto campus with their guns and actually worked with police – albeit to little effect – during the Whitman incident.)

    • My Dorm At College
      All I know is that if guns were allowed in the mixed aged dorm that I lived in my Freshman year at SMU, we would have had at least two or three killings.  As it was, four individuals had to go to the ER as a result of assaults, all but one of which involved at least on horribly intoxicated party.  (Never mind the arrest of the two guys dealing cocaine.)  I can only imagine the increased carnage that would have resulted if guns had been around.  It certainly wouldn't have been pretty.  

  1. Guns on Campus
    Why do you believe students will be accidentally shot?  Your argument of a legally licensed student shooting someone because he/she feels persecuted is completely inappropriate, and has no business in a discussion on this issue.  Look at the amount of crime committed by people legally licensed to carry a concealed handgun that actually use said gun in the commission of a crime.   It is virtually non-existent.  Criminals do not register a gun, and certainly do not receive a license to carry one.  In fact, a felon is not allowed to own a gun in the first place.  If a student is going to shoot someone on campus, he will bring a gun, regardless of whether or not he has a license. Why will a student, over the age of 21 and legally licensed to carry a gun, be more likely to shoot someone on campus rather than off campus?  Finally, if I am not mistaken, I read in the Statesman that a student was mugged at UT today, ironic that no crime exists on campus.  If Democrats want to lose ground in Texas, all they need to do is begin restricting citizen's rights to own and carry guns.  Listen to former Congressman Charlie Wilson who said the only thing his district wanted was “guns and low taxes.”    

    • Where did I make the argument you mention?
      In this post, I did not talk about the possibility of students accidentally getting shot.  That's the least of my worries with the guns on campus ideas.

      I am worried about the possibility of someone getting mad at someone and then taking out their gun that they carry only because they are allowed to.  But even that isn't my biggest worry.

      My biggest worry is that many student bodies feel uncomfortable with the idea, and that universities feel that allowing guns on campus inhibits their ability to provide the best education possible.  As I said, “The Democratic Party is supposed to be the party of education.”  That is why I stand where I do on this issue more than anything else.

  2. stop being so naive
    Yes, universities are a place for learning and ideally they would be no place for guns.  But we don't live in an ideal world and not every college campus is as safe as UT.  When I turn on the TV every night, I still see news stories about robberies and murders and home invasions, so it's obvious that our world is not safe enough to warrant the elimination of guns altogether.  But, the fact of the matter is, it's not only on-campus that the University's policies can have an impact on someone's safety, but also off campus.  

    Have you ever walked through West Campus at 2 AM after a night of studying?  The number of assaults and muggings AROUND campus is astounding.  However, with a CHL, those individuals that are of legal age and have proved to the state through rigorous training and a background check would be able to protect themselves while walking home from the library.  Right now, these individuals must be unarmed and defenseless at all times.  

    Yes, UT has a big police force, but think honestly about it, and police are usually only there to write their report about what happened; they very rarely stop a crime from happening.  Knowing that individuals walking home from campus might be armed is a pretty big incentive for these thugs to go elsewhere.

    CHL holders are some of the most law-abiding citizens in the state.  Statistics show that a CHL holder is less likely to commit a crime, and they have already proven through the very intensive state and FBI background checks that they do not have a criminal history.

    The idea that you might be “uncomfortable” with a fellow student or a professor being armed on campus is rather hilarious.  Do you have the same fear when you go to the grocery store?  Are you scared of the person sitting next to you at the movie theater?  What about when you go to a bank?  1% of the TX population has a CHL, so when you go to the movies, the odds are pretty good that at least one person in that theater has a handgun on them.  Scared now?  The fact is, CHL holders are already able to go so many places that you already go and yet you have no fear of them.  Why?  Because we carry our weapons CONCEALED, just as the law intended.  This would not change if carry was allowed on college campuses.  

    • Uncomfortable
      I don't know if the word “uncomfortable” is the right one, but of course we are uneasy when we go other public places about anybody having a gun.  When I go to the bank and see a guard with a gun, even that makes me uneasy.  I'd rather he be sitting there with a radio.  

    • Not Naive
      Guns are already legal in the West Campus area, so this argument doesn't hold water.

      I am disturbed by the writer's distain for law enforcement officers: “Yes, UT has a big police force, but think honestly about it, and police are usually only there to write their report about what happened; they very rarely stop a crime from happening.” I know that it is trendy for some people to be down on campus officers, but it is inappropriate at best.

      The poster also betrays a general lack of understanding of law enforcement: most crimes are detected after the fact by all agents. The only ones that are statistical exceptions are traffic violations, which are usually observed while they are committed.

       “The idea that you might be “uncomfortable” with a fellow student or a professor being armed on campus is rather hilarious.” “Hilarious” is quite a word when it is used to describe the anxiety other people have. As other posters have pointed out, we're also talking about civility in relationships and appropriate sensitivity.

      • yes they are legal
        My point is, if you are on campus studying until 2 AM, you must be unarmed while you are on campus in a campus building.  You decide to walk home to your apartment in West Campus.  You are forced to be unarmed during your journey home simply because of the policies in force on campus, despite that you have the legal ability to carry your weapon elsewhere.

        My point on police only being there to write the report is that most individuals that are against CHL holders bringing their weapons on campus use the argument of “increasing police” on campus.  Well, that's great, but police cannot be everywhere all the time.  Police may provide something of a deterrent, but the fact that crimes are still committed on and around campus shows that they aren't the solution unless you can get one police officer following each student on campus.  It will also generally take between 3-10 minutes for police to show up to the scene of a crime.  If this were a violent incident, how long do you really think it would take for a thug to hurt you or your loved ones before police responded?  

        • Education at OK Corral
          How often are CHL holders over-powered?  Assailants usually have the advantage of surprise–and of the fact that they can have weapons at the ready.

          During a long life, I've only been mugged once and that not on campus; the assailant got me from behind, so a handgun would have been useless to me.  As it was, he probably would have gotten my gun in addition to some loose change and a few credit cards if I had been a CHL holder. BTW, except for a small bump on my head, and a bruised ego, I was not injured. (Which is not to minimize the general severity of assaults, especially on women!)

          You are idealizing self-defense situations, beyond the realm of realism and practicality. You are minimizing the additional risks that armed victims might face.

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