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Most B-CS lawmakers favor looser gun laws on college campuses - The Eagle: News

Most B-CS lawmakers favor looser gun laws on college campuses

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Posted: Sunday, January 27, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 12:11 am, Sun Jan 27, 2013.

Although gun-control proponents believe their cause gained momentum in the wake of the elementary school massacre in Connecticut last month, politicians in Aggieland are holding fast to their veneration of the Second Amendment.

At least two state lawmakers who represent the area have joined the re-energized legislative movement to further loosen gun restrictions by supporting a measure that would allow holders of concealed gun permits to carry weapons into college classrooms.

Following the Connecticut massacre, President Barack Obama unveiled a series of 23 executive orders related to gun control on Jan. 16. The proposals under the most fire have been those banning assault weapons, limiting high-capacity magazines and requiring universal background checks for purchasing guns, which would extend the screening process to those who buy secondhand or through the Internet. U.S. Rep. Bill Flores, a Tea Party favorite whose district includes the Bryan-College Station area, owns a handful of guns, including an AR-15-type rifle which he said he bought to hunt with. Flores said he is considering joining with other congressmen in a letter to ask Obama not to impair Second Amendment rights.

"Arming issues should be a state issue, not a Washington issue," Flores said.

Like many gun supporters, Flores said guns don't kill people, people kill people. Flores said he does not support restricting the sale of assault weapons or high-capacity magazines.

"There were more people killed by hammers in 2011 than assault rifles," Flores said. "Does that mean we should ban hammers? It's not the core issue."

Flores was noncommittal on increasing the number of gun buyers subject to background checks. He said he supports changes to make information sharing between law enforcement agencies easier and backs some of the items in Obama's executive order, such as studying what causes gun violence and improving data collection and how states share information.

"We need to look at the executive orders and determine if they are better done legislatively rather than through White House action," Flores said.

The mental health component to the gun debate was more complicated, Flores said. He called for congressional hearings and dialogue on whether the federal government could or should play a role in altering access to mental health care.

In Austin, legislators are poised to roll back a decades-old prohibition of handguns in classrooms. Proponents of allowing concealed handgun license holders to bring their firearms into university classrooms are hoping the third time is a charm, after similar measures have failed during the past two legislative sessions.

Sen. Bryan Birdwell, R-Granbury, and Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake, have filed legislation aimed at allowing armed students.

It's a felony in Texas to carry a gun into a classroom. Texas is one of 21 states that ban the carrying of a concealed weapon on campus. Five states have provisions that allow concealed carry on campus and legislation is pending in two states, according to the national conference of state legislatures.

In Texas, concealed weapons are only banned in university buildings or arenas, and can be carried in open areas, walkways and parking lots. The Texas Penal Code allows individual universities to permit concealed weapons, but no public university in the state has done so.

Additionally, The A&M Student Conduct Code, section 24.3.6, prohibits possession of all firearms on university premises or any university-sponsored activity.

Texas Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, is a co-author of Birdwell's bill to allow guns on campus. Schwertner, whose district includes the Bryan-College Station area, said the issue is about personal protection and the constitutional right to bear arms.

"Campuses can be a dangerous place and although we have police and security I believe an individual should have their own self-defense," Schwertner said.

Similar to Flores, Schwertner said he opposed banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and was noncommittal about universal background checks. Schwertner said he has a concealed carry license, and grew up hunting deer and birds.

Rep. John Raney, R-Bryan, also backed permitting handguns into classrooms.

"As a member of the NRA and [the Texas State Rifle Association], I firmly believe in the preservation of our 2nd Amendment rights," Raney wrote in an email to The Eagle. "I am aware of past attempts to pass legislation similar to Senator Birdwell's SB 182 have been unsuccessful. I hope to see this one come to fruition. I intend on supporting this legislation as it provides coverage for CHL holders while allowing some local control for the colleges and universities."

The only area state lawmaker to not fully commit to the measure was Rep. Kyle Kacal, R-Brazos County.

"While I support the idea of allowing students to protect themselves, I believe that it is equally important to provide a safe academic environment for those students who are not armed," wrote Kacal in an email to The Eagle. "The Second Amendment is one of our most essential rights and anything we do needs to be carefully vetted for unintended consequences. My goal is to ensure that qualified adults have the ability to exercise their rights and that local law enforcement, universities, and institutions of higher education play an integral part in the conversation."

Senators of A&M's student government overwhelmingly support concealed carry on campus. Last fall, the student senate passed a resolution endorsing the measure. The support was so overwhelming that it survived a veto by the student body president.

Camille Mohle, president of Texas A&M's chapter of Students for Concealed Carry, was one of the student government senators who voted in favor of the resolution. A&M students' opinions on bringing guns to campus is mixed, Mohle acknowledged, but she said the fears of students who feel unsafe around guns are unfounded.

"How do they go to the movie theater, how do they go to the mall, how do they go to a restaurant?" Mohle asked, pointing out that concealed carry holders bring guns to those places.

She said allowing concealed carry on campus will allow permitted individuals to protect themselves from danger.

"If a student is that upset about something, no law will stop them," Mohle said. "If somebody is going to do something malicious, a law on a piece of paper is not going to stop them from doing it."

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Welcome to the discussion.

33 comments:

  • bcs2 posted at 10:53 am on Mon, Feb 4, 2013.

    bcs2 Posts: 60

    "ravaging" is probably a better word choice. I guess my anthropomorphic allusion didn't come acfross as intended.

     
  • roy g posted at 9:23 pm on Fri, Feb 1, 2013.

    roy g Posts: 604

    It might help if elf2 aka johnbob were really an instructor, too, but we just allow him his little fantasy.

     
  • Zippy posted at 11:14 am on Fri, Feb 1, 2013.

    Zippy Posts: 91

    Assaoult on liberty? Please. read up a bit. The second amendment has been confirmed by the supreme court to mean you can own, via Heller, an handgun in your house. Not your car. Not your pants. There is a lot of law to go, folks and the NRA is clouding the issue with moronic memes about "freedom" and "liberty". If we had complete freedom I'd own a flamethrower and minigun.

     
  • Zippy posted at 11:11 am on Fri, Feb 1, 2013.

    Zippy Posts: 91

    How do you come to the conclusion that a CCl makes one responsible? Trained? (CCL does not train you in gunfighting anymore than watching the Outdoor Channel does).

     
  • Zippy posted at 11:10 am on Fri, Feb 1, 2013.

    Zippy Posts: 91

    Menacing? Really.

     
  • Zippy posted at 11:09 am on Fri, Feb 1, 2013.

    Zippy Posts: 91

    I doubt Bill hunts anything with and AR. Just like I doubt Obama shoots much skeet. All hot talk.

     
  • Zippy posted at 11:08 am on Fri, Feb 1, 2013.

    Zippy Posts: 91

    The idea of allowing guns on campus is so wrong-headed and irresponsible as to be laughable. Gun idealogues continue to go against safety and common sense to confrim their own agandas. For anyone to really beleive this is an answer to anything is ridiculous.

     
  • J posted at 11:33 am on Wed, Jan 30, 2013.

    J Posts: 48

    "For me it is simply a question of which environment is safer: one in which people can carry or one which they can't . I don't currently know the answer."

    I agree with you, and think it may be due in large part to the NRA, which has managed to put the kibosh on research about guns, society, and safety.

    My opinions about gun legislation are unformed at this point, but I do strongly believe that we need to end the NRA's hegemony in this area.

     
  • csguy posted at 9:06 am on Wed, Jan 30, 2013.

    csguy Posts: 30

    Most guns are not military weapons. Yes certainly any gun can be used (or hammer for that matter) can be used to kill.

    Well it appears that we may have some evidence that they are in fact more deadly. Even the few seconds it takes to reload may have given the Gabby Gifford victims time to grab the killer. (have not confirmed that is factual) It is certainly conceivable that that could happen.

    But anyway I was not arguing that we are necessarily going to be safer without those types of weapons. I was simply pointing out that no one is taking away peoples regular guns.

    As I clearly stated -we have always accepted some increased risk in the cause of personal liberty. Is the possibility of saving one life a year on average worth this restriction and would it even be effective?

    I think elf raised a valid point.
    Would we be creating a society where more and more people carry firearms because society is getting more and more dangerous because more and more people carry firearms....

    And then some of those people (particularly the young and mentally ill) may make rash decisions to use their weapons.

    I think we have examples in some inner city environments where guns are a way of life which we should not choose to copy.

    Certainly if we could limit guns to only responsible, good natured, well trained people then we would never have a problem.

    For me it is simply a question of which environment is safer: one in which people can carry or one which they can't . I don't currently know the answer.

    We are not doing very well as a society of discouraging gun violence.

     
  • J posted at 10:30 am on Tue, Jan 29, 2013.

    J Posts: 48

    A responsible, trained, concealed carry student would not be a risk. But not all people carrying concealed weapons are responsible at all times. My spouse has had to deal with agitated students on occasion and thank God none have been carrying a gun, so far.

    You don’t seem to get just how impulsive people in the typical college student age range can be. For example, a study of near-lethal suicide attempts in Harris county found that for those aged 15 to 34, a little over 20% committed the act impulsively, with an elapsed time of 5 MINUTES between thinking about suicide and acting on it. (Source is http://www.npr.org/2013/01/25/170299270/impulsivity-and-access-to-means-drives-rising-u-s-suicide-rate)

    The idea of getting together 50,000 students and sanctioning--even encouraging--the carrying of concealed weapons is just plain crazy.

     
  • Sabio posted at 4:41 pm on Mon, Jan 28, 2013.

    Sabio Posts: 1176

    Nope, not reality. Correlation and causation are NOT the same thing. That same "out of control" student could have shot you WITHOUT the change in the law. If they were TRULY "out of control", they very likely would have. The "fake" background check is truly laughable. A person bent on committing a crime wouldn't waste the time to get licensed to begin with.

    Lastly, not ALL of the 600 students you teach are over 21, the minimum age required to get a CHL. I'd venture that MOST of the 600 are under that age. The idea that keeping law abiding students from having guns on campus will stop law breaking students from shooting up the school is false logic, at best.

     
  • elf posted at 12:18 pm on Mon, Jan 28, 2013.

    elf Posts: 1404

    It's not false logic. It's reality. The presence and readily availability of guns on campus make the situation more dangerous. Since you obviously are not a teacher, you have not experienced an "out of control" student. I have and I have ask for police assistance.

    Second, 10 hours of very sloppy training (I know because I have a CHL) does not make a saint out of a student. Even the background check can be faked with a false ID attainable online for less than $50.

    Third, the gun most likely to be used to shoot you is your own gun, and the most likely person to shoot that gun at you is yourself. The increase in gun ownership has been accompanied with an even greater rise in gun accidents.

     
  • Sabio posted at 7:50 am on Mon, Jan 28, 2013.

    Sabio Posts: 1176

    CSguy, so what kind of gun is NOT intended for mass assault. Charles Whitman killed 16 people in 1966 using a bolt action rifle. The idea that a semiautomatic gun is somehow more deadly than a bolt action gun is ludicrous.

    Moreover, according to Grant Duwe of the Minnesota Department of Correction who compiled data on mass murders in the 20th century, only 52% of mass murders (assaults) were committed with a gun of any kind. The most lethal weapon used was explosives followed by fire. Guns are about as lethal as blunt objects, bare hands, and knives in terms of mass murders. Here's the article from which the data comes.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2012/07/aurora_shooting_how_did_people_commit_mass_murder_before_automatic_weapons_.html

     
  • Sabio posted at 7:40 am on Mon, Jan 28, 2013.

    Sabio Posts: 1176

    One more thing elf.....what makes you think you HAVEN'T faced an armed student when you've delivered bad news? Or, what makes you think you're safe only in a building? Assume one of those students who are agitated decides to do you harm. Do you honestly think the ONLY place they'll decide to act is on a building on campus? This is STILL not a big city, if they wanted to find you off campus, they could. And easily.

     
  • Sabio posted at 6:55 am on Mon, Jan 28, 2013.

    Sabio Posts: 1176

    Elf, false logic. Those 66 some odd students who are agitated with you annually have not accosted you with a gun to date, have they? So why would a responsible, trained, concealed carry student increase your risk? If someone today is THAT agitated, a law against confronting you with a gun wouldn't stop them.

    This is the false logic of the left. They think that the world needs to be protected from the law abiding citizens, and that keeping guns from law abiding citizens will somehow keep everyone safer.

     
  • Sabio posted at 6:52 am on Mon, Jan 28, 2013.

    Sabio Posts: 1176

    bcs2, why is shooting feral hogs NOT hunting? Regardless, so what if you don't consider shooting feral hogs "hunting"? The 2nd Amendment is NOT about hunting anyway.

     
  • posted at 7:59 pm on Sun, Jan 27, 2013.

    Posts:

    Please, please, please do not call an elected representative of the people an idiot. A majority of folks thought he was the man for the job. The people got what they wanted. Thank goodness he is having little impact in DC. He is an outsider in his own party...a forgotten man. I would not advise going hunting with him...imagine if he shoots an AR-15 as badly as the Bush VP shot a rifle...he would take out half of the folks who voted for him and then some. But at least he spends lots of his time at home, going to Aggie sports events, and mixing with his gun owner friends. This means he has even less time to do damage.

     
  • bcs2 posted at 5:07 pm on Sun, Jan 27, 2013.

    bcs2 Posts: 60

    Javelina, yes, but not the feral hogs menacing these parts today.. I don't really consider that hunting.

     
  • posted at 4:44 pm on Sun, Jan 27, 2013.

    Posts:

    And you think 21 year olds will be more responsible than younger students. You haven't been to North Gate lately.

     
  • posted at 4:43 pm on Sun, Jan 27, 2013.

    Posts:

    And teachers and students probably can't shot straight either. Witness what happened on the Houston campus when people started firing at each other.

     
  • jake posted at 2:19 pm on Sun, Jan 27, 2013.

    jake Posts: 84

    You obviously haven’t been hog hunting.

     
  • bcs2 posted at 12:48 pm on Sun, Jan 27, 2013.

    bcs2 Posts: 60

    So Rep. Flores owns an AR-15 type of weapon that he purchased to hunt with. He didn't say the kind of game he used it for -- varmits, deer, big game? Either way, you just usually get just one good shot. After that, it's a waste of good ammo.

     
  • elf posted at 11:24 am on Sun, Jan 27, 2013.

    elf Posts: 1404

    I have a somewhat different prospective than many. I teach about 600 students a year in a junior/ senior four hour course at Texas A&M. I will fail approximately 56 of those 600. I will file dishonesty charges against approximately 10 students. The majority are seniors and are of the age they can get a CHL. My actions also usually delay their graduation. They often become very agitated.

    I will not confront 66 potentially armed students with information that they are not going to pass my course or that I am pursuing sanctions against them for cheating. That said, I really do not have the tools I need to teach effectively. Professors that teach large classes are especially at risk because we have less contact with the students and a larger number of student with whom to deal.

     
  • csguy posted at 10:18 am on Sun, Jan 27, 2013.

    csguy Posts: 30

    First of all no one is talking about taking away our right to own a gun. What they are taking away is your right to own types of weapons that are considered to be primarily intended for mass assault.

    As for allowing the general public to carry weapons -is there any evidence which supports it being either more safe or less safe?

    We have always accepted a certain amount of danger in favor of individual liberty.

    If I had to guess I would say that most people who carry do so out of an irrational fear of being assaulted (for their personal protection) I doubt that type of person is going to go out of their way to stop a crazed killer who is not an immediate threat.

    They are not Gene Autrey riding in with their white hats to save the day.

    The percentage of the general population who would want to carry is so small and these types of violent acts so sporadic I doubt there would be much if any real effect on stopping mass shootings.

    Guns do not need to be very big and we do not have metal detectors all over so I would guess that those people who really want to carry already do.

    I just do not know if banning high capacity weapons would have any real effect either. Banning certain drugs has not been very effective. Will we simply create a black market for such weapons?

    "There were more people killed by hammers in 2011 than assault rifles," Flores said. "Does that mean we should ban hammers? It's not the core issue."

    -This is just stupid and it proves Flores is an idiot.

     
  • Edvard posted at 9:32 am on Sun, Jan 27, 2013.

    Edvard Posts: 280

    For The Win, indeed.

     
  • ftw posted at 8:38 am on Sun, Jan 27, 2013.

    ftw Posts: 1075

    Yeah, I get your point about being 21. But there are lots of those that crowd a 4 year degree into 7 or 8 years. Some because they are paying their way through college by working 2 or 3 jobs and struggle just to keep up. And there are those that just spend too much time on skid row (aka: Northgate) and skip the academics.

    In the end, there are only a few people I know that I would trust with a gun in a life or death situation. The reality is that having that concealed weapon may make some feel safer, but when the other person has the jump, or bullets are flying, it's much harder and more dangerous than most think. What most people see on TV, in police or war programs is not reality.

    Ask a local law enforcement officer, sherrif or police, who has faced an armed suspect, and had to fire, how it felt. And ask them if they prefer more or less armed citizens at a crime scene.

     
  • ftw posted at 8:27 am on Sun, Jan 27, 2013.

    ftw Posts: 1075

    I tried to remove the additional post by reporting them, but get an error and no option to continue. Again, sorry.

     
  • Sabio posted at 8:02 am on Sun, Jan 27, 2013.

    Sabio Posts: 1176

    ftw, how about self-reporting those posts so the Eagle will remove them?!

    The point that is being missed in all this is that you have to be 21 to even HAVE a concealed carry license. The idea that there will be 50,000 armed students is nonsense.

    This entire gun control effort is not about ending gun violence, it's an assault on individual liberty. Not one of the newly proposed gun restrictions will stop a person who is intent on committing bad acts. Not one.

    I, for one, agree with the idea that the only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

     
  • citizen1 posted at 7:27 am on Sun, Jan 27, 2013.

    citizen1 Posts: 208

    I hope they let us carry at Kyle field during games... there are lots of people to protect there... I hope they let us carry at church too.... God isn't always paying attention... so he needs our help... They especially need to let our Representative carry at the meeting of the Texas Legislature so that can protect one another from their crazy constituents... I feel safer already

     
  • ftw posted at 6:36 am on Sun, Jan 27, 2013.

    ftw Posts: 1075

    Again, sorry about the multiple post, it was unintentional.

    When trying to post earlier, the site was unresponsive when I clicked on the post button, even after waiting almost a minute. So I clicked again, and nothing appeared to happen again. So I closed my browser and tried again, still unresponsive. So I tried another browser, with no luck. I thought the post was lost, but unfortunately, it posted multiple times.

    With the previous site, we could remove our own post. I don't see that on the new site. So I did report the extra post hoping the moderator or someone might delete them. But if anyone know how to delete a post, please post it. Multiple times if necessary.

     
  • ftw posted at 6:23 am on Sun, Jan 27, 2013.

    ftw Posts: 1075

    Sorry about that. I had problems posting earlier, but I did not mean to post multiple times.

     
  • roy g posted at 6:06 am on Sun, Jan 27, 2013.

    roy g Posts: 604

    ftw, which one of the six copies of your comment should we read?

     
  • ftw posted at 4:48 am on Sun, Jan 27, 2013.

    ftw Posts: 1075

    Lets see, how many students, or citizens in general for that matter, have been arrested for Public Intoxication, DWI etc on most any weekend or after football games? And how many have been killed when crossing the train tracks in the last few years.

    How many people who teach or interact with students on a regular basis have seen them distraught over an exam or class grade? Or when a relationship goes wrong?

    It is the easy access to guns that bothers me. People not thinking clearly and easy access to firearms is not a good combination. One we should not promote.

     

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