New legislation weaponizes Texas classrooms

The Texas Senate approved, in a 19 to 12 vote, a bill to allow the carrying of concealed handguns on public college campuses. The bill’s backers say the move is a necessary reaction to an incident that took place seven months ago when a University of Texas student carrying a gun opened fire while on campus.

Opponents are raising an outcry and see the legislature’s move as a blatant display of backward thinking. They say it is impossible to protect against violence with the same firearms that have cause the problem in the first place.

 

The Senate’s move in Texas seems to be part of a trend where Republicans and right-wingers, with the backing of the gun lobby, are pushing for a stronger pro-gun laws all over the country.

Texas senators recently voted to allow themselves to carry concealed guns into places the rest of the public could not, including churches, restaurants and sporting events.

Shooting survivors on campus don’t share the opinion of the Senate that the bill will ensure everyone’s safety.

University of Texas student Julie Gavran was held at gunpoint on campus years ago; she doesn’t believe having a gun of her own would have helped much. “The Senators aren’t paying attention to the survivors,” she told educationnews.org, “who have actually gone through these scenarios. There are so many people that have been there in the situation that are against this bill.”

Houston Democrat Sen. Rodney Ellis also voiced his opinion to the Houston Chronicle on the dangerous nature of the law, as well as the lack of logic behind it. “When there is an alcohol-related tragedy on campus,” Ellis said, “You don’t hear claims that giving students a 12-pack is the solution! Yet, when it comes to gun-related incidents, we seem to think that putting more guns in the mix will lead to a good, rather than bloody outcome.”

Republican Sen. Jeff Wentworth told the press that he introduced the bill because of the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech. “I would feel personally guilty if I woke up one morning,” he said, “and read that something similar had occurred on a Texas campus.”

His opponents note that he is failing to see how his legislation invites the very incidents he claims he wants to prevent. Many who disagree with Wentworth say they wouldn’t want to be in his shoes if a major violent incident occurs because of a gun law he supported.

Photo: Virginia Tech shooting survivor Colin Goddard at a “lie-in” during a rally protesting gun violence in Richmond, Va., Jan. 17. Goddard, a gun control activist, dismisses the idea that another student with a gun could have stopped the Virginia Tech killer. (Steve Helber/AP)

CORRECTION: In a previous version of this article an erroneous sentence was inadvertantly inserted. We regret the error.


CONTRIBUTOR

Blake Skylar
Blake Skylar

Blake is production manager, responsible for the daily assembly of the PW home page. As a writer, he has earned awards from the IWPA and ILCA, and his articles have also appeared in publications such as Workday Minnesota, EcoWatch, and Earth First News. He has covered issues including the 2010 BP oil spill in New Orleans and the 2015 U.N. Climate Conference in Paris.

He lives in Illinois and frequently visits his home state of New Jersey. He likes cats, red wine, books, music, and nature. In his spare time, he is writing a novel and working on art. Using the pen name "Blake X," he writes a blog that can be found at blakedeppe.com.

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