Monday, July 14, 2008

Texas Legislature Considers Allowing Guns on College Campuses

Everyone remembers that horrific day last April when a gunman opened fire on the Virginia Tech campus and killed thirty-two people before turning the gun on himself. This event was the deadliest shooting spree by a single person in the history of our country. Now, some legislators in Texas want to pass a measure that they believe will prevent such a massacre from occurring on one of their college campuses. Hearings are underway to determine whether the ban on concealed weapons at Texas colleges and universities should be lifted.

The bill is being introduced by House Law Enforcement Chairman Joe Driver, a Republican from Garland, and has received strong support from both the National Rifle Association and students who do not want to risk becoming the next victims. If passed (an outcome that even Driver admits is questionable), Texas would join only Utah as the only two states which allow concealed weapons on college campuses.

Naturally, there are groups who are making the case against the bill. Marsha McCartney, president of the North Texas Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, believes that suicide rates and binge drinking among college students provide enough reason to keep guns off campuses. And, the Rice University Police Chief Bill Taylor is worried that the limited training given to those who receive carry permits is not sufficient for students and faculty to act as stand-ins for law enforcement.

If precedent is any indication, Driver faces an uphill battle in getting the ban lifted. Bills to allow guns on campus have been introduced in seventeen states and have met with fifteen failures. The other two states are still considering the legislation. Time will tell if the outcome in the Lone Star State is any different.

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