By JIM VERTUNO
More than half the members of theÂ Texas House have signed on as co-authors of a measure directing universities to allow concealed handguns. TheÂ Senatepassed a similar bill in 2009 and is expected to do so again. Republican Gov.Rick Perry, who sometimes packs a pistol when he jogs, has said he’s in favor of the idea.
Texas has become a prime battleground for the issue because of its gun culture and its size, with 38 public universities and more than 500,000 students. It would become the second state, followingÂ Utah, to pass such a broad-based law. Colorado gives colleges the option and several have allowed handguns.
Supporters of the legislation argue thatÂ gun violence on campuses, such as the mass shootings atÂ Virginia Tech in 2007 andÂ Northern Illinois in 2008, show that the best defense against a gunman is students who can shoot back.
“It’s strictly a matter of self-defense,” said state Sen.Â Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio. “I don’t ever want to see repeated on aÂ Texas college campus what happened atÂ Virginia Tech, where some deranged, suicidal madman goes into a building and is able to pick off totally defenseless kids like sitting ducks.”
Until theÂ Virginia Tech incident, the worst college shooting in U.S. history occurred at theÂ University of Texas, when sniperÂ Charles Whitman went to the top of the administration tower in 1966 and killed 16 people and wounded dozens. Last September, a University ofÂ Texas student fired several shots from anÂ assault rifle before killing himself.
Similar firearms measures have been proposed in about a dozen other states, but all face strong opposition, especially from college leaders. InÂ Oklahoma, all 25 public college and university presidents declared their opposition to a concealed carry proposal.
“There is no scenario where allowing concealed weapons on college campuses will do anything other than create a more dangerous environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors,”Â Oklahoma Chancellor ofÂ Higher Education Glen Johnson said in January.
Guns occupy a special place inÂ Texas culture. Politicians often tout owning a gun as essential to being Texan. Concealed handgun license holders are allowed to skip theÂ metal detectors that scan Capitol visitors for guns, knives and other contraband.
To read more, visit: http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D9LGMKM81&show_article=1
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