Insanity in Texas: guns on campus

According to Yahoo News, the Texas state legislature is poised to pass a bill allowing handguns on college campuses (this is already permitted in Utah and Colorado).

More than half the members of the Texas House have signed on as co-authors of a measure directing universities to allow concealed handguns. The Senate passed 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.

Currently parts of campuses, including dorms and classrooms, are gun-free zones.  Now why is the Texas legislature (and the governor) so eager to pass this legislation?  So that students can defend themselves against armed marauders:

“It’s strictly a matter of self-defense,” said state Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio. “I don’t ever want to see repeated on a Texas college campus what happened at Virginia Tech, where some deranged, suicidal madman goes into a building and is able to pick off totally defenseless kids like sitting ducks.”

Yeah, I’d really like to teach in front of a classroom full of students packing heat. What would happen if one of them failed an exam?  So I weep for my fellow professors in Texas.  And, of course, there are the students. How much mayhem, how many homicides and suicides will occur when a campus full of stressed-out and emotionally volatile students can simply reach into their handbags or backpacks for a revolver?

This is mostly the doing of Republicans, of course, and of Republican governor Rick Perry, who will eagerly sign the bill.  And it’s not only dangerous, but an embarrassment to Texas—and America. Imagine what people in France, England, or Germany would think of this insanity!  Even conservative students have misgivings:

Frankie Shulkin, a first-year law student at the University of Texas, said he doesn’t think he’d feel safer if other students in his classes had guns.

“If I was taking an exam and knew the person next to me had one, I don’t know how comfortable I would feel,” Shulkin said. “I am in favor of guns rights and your typical conservative guy, but the classroom thing bugs me.”

Exactly. And that goes for dorm rooms too.

97 Comments

  1. Posted February 20, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    In my day, we couldn’t even have beer on campus (except for officially sanctioned events).

  2. Tim
    Posted February 20, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    As a Texas professor currently teaching a chemistry class with a historic GPA average of 2.35 and an enrollment of more than 300, I can’t tell you how much safer I’m feeling now.

  3. Posted February 20, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    It’s a good thing that we have the Internet. Hopefully, the faculty will be able to post grades while they are not on campus.

  4. Andrew C
    Posted February 20, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    How many of your students have physically assaulted you following a bad test result? What makes you think they’re more likely to shoot you than to punch you? There are tens of millions of gun owners in this country – and in most areas of the country, people are allowed to carry a concealed weapon. You are surrounded every day by people carrying guns. The average citizen in this country is not some deranged nutjob, just waiting for a car accident or bad test score to commit murder.

    To put some evidence into this discussion, concealed carry is permitted at all public universities in Utah, and has been permitted since 2004. There have been no shootings on any of their campuses.

    • Posted February 20, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      Having students carrying guns probably won’t lead to many bloodbaths, but it probably won’t prevent any either, for the simple reason that hardly any students are violent psychopaths. It might change the results of violent attacks though. A colleague on my campus was attacked some years ago by a student with a knife, but survived; had the student been carrying a firearm, the result might well have been different.

      • Villa
        Posted February 20, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        had the student been carrying a firearm, the result might well have been different

        The bill addresses, “will we ban the lawful possession of guns?” and not “will guns exist?”

        The attacker was already willing to break some major laws.

        What difference would an extra minor law make?

        • Posted February 20, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

          I don’t think gun laws are minor laws. I don’t know enough about the student’s motivation for the assault to know whether there was significant preparation or premeditation. But the point of gun laws is not to make it impossible for bad actors to obtain guns (because they, by definition, are willing to break laws), but to make it more difficult to obtain them. Knives are easy to get, so he got one and used it. Had guns been easily available, he might have gotten one.

          • Posted February 20, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

            Are attacks with knives survived more often than those with guns?

            • Posted February 20, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

              From what I’ve read, yes. As a martial-arts hobbyist, I’d definitely rather face an attacker armed with a knife instead of one with a gun. For one thing, you have far more chance of escaping a knife-wielding assailant. Knives are also easier to defend against with just about anything (such as a stick), although it would be difficult if one had nothing at all.

              With a gun, forget defending yourself.

        • WingedBeast
          Posted February 20, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

          It would make it more difficult to for students to get access to or carry guns on campus.

          Despite the beliefs of the NRA, the ease with which you get legal guns does increase the ease in which criminals get illegal guns.

    • Tim
      Posted February 20, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      The average citizen in this country is not the person who worries me. We who teach large lecture sections often say (in a more general context, of course) that once your class gets to 80 or so, teaching an additional 235 doesn’t make that much difference – except for one thing: the outliers. With 30 students I get one or two whiners or otherwise unreasonable individuals. With 315 students, the 10-20 outliers soak up a lot of time. This policy is crazy, even if the reason for it is taken at face value. Suppose an unbalanced student threatens me during the lecture – just exactly how do you propose I “defend” myself? Tell the students around him to duck?

      • Posted February 20, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        I completely agree. The problem with having everyone armed is not that most people will use the weapons indiscriminately, but that some– the non-average people– will. There are hardly any violent psychopaths in the population at large, but when everyone has easy access to guns, the violent psychopaths will too. Surely a large part of the explanation for the much higher murder rate in the US is not that there are more violent people here, but that they have easy access to weapons (even if they are a small percentage of the population as a whole).

    • RickK
      Posted February 20, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      Andrew, are you really defending the right for young people to carry tools designed to efficiently take lives? Do you really want to send your child to an institution where the attitude is “I don’t trust everyone around me, so I will carry a device to allow me to quickly murder anyone I think deserves it.”

      Andrew, the statistics and facts are quite clear – more guns equals more dead kids. While you may disagree, I prefer my children alive.

    • Ichthyic
      Posted February 20, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      How many of your students have physically assaulted you following a bad test result? What makes you think they’re more likely to shoot you than to punch you?

      because frankly, it would be much easier.

      sorry, but if you go after someone to punch them, you have to have the confidence that you can do it, which most people actually don’t.

      Sooo much easier just to whip your gun out and shoot them from across the room.

      they don’t call guns “the great equalizer” for nuthin’.

      Moreover, as has already been pointed out, shooting someone tends to be a lot more damaging than punching them.

      as to the person who whinged: “it’s just one more law”, uh, so when it’s legal to carry firearms into class, and dozens have them, what kind of security measures would you recommend?

      THIS AIN’T THE FUCKING WILD WEST, people.

      even the wild west wasn’t the wild west.

      sweet jesus, how many people must die so you can feel happy that you have the right to carry a gun, that I’m betting a good proportion of gun rights advocates don’t even carry?

      I’m not comfortable letting ONE person get killed so you can carry a concealed firearm wherever you go.

      Your “freedom of expression”, is simply not worth the cost in human lives.

  5. bric
    Posted February 20, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    What this person in the UK thinks (I have worked in a college in the East End of London where we had knife and machete attacks) is that the US is a very foreign place

    • Dominic
      Posted February 20, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      Me : I work at UCL famed – unfortunately – for producing the odd terrorist, however even if handguns were permitted in the UK (not since Dunblane’s massacre of the innocents) I would imagine staff would refuse to teach if they were permitted. Surely it is up to the university staff to speak out against such a stupid decision & refuse to teach under the threat of having guns on campus?!

      • Ichthyic
        Posted February 20, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        I would imagine staff would refuse to teach if they were permitted.

        an excellent recommendation for the teachers of Texas to protest this insanity.

  6. SaintStephen
    Posted February 20, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Republican Gov. Rick Perry, who sometimes packs a pistol when he jogs, has said he’s in favor of the idea.

    In his…?

    Okay, I won’t. The visual alone is so ripe for puns, it would be like shooting fish in a barrel. (Sorry.)

    Rick Perry (and cowboy John Cornyn) are literally caricatures of themselves. A wacky place, Texas, but as Professor Coyne has already attested, the barbecue is perty dang good.

    • Dominic
      Posted February 20, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      …in his lycra shorts! :(

      • Don
        Posted February 20, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

        Runners who carry usually carry in a fanny or belly pack designed for that purpose.

        • Dominic
          Posted February 20, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

          Well that’s a relief – just don’t expect that you can use the word fanny to anyone from the UK without getting juvenile sniggers! Sorry, lowering the tone as usual.

  7. Villa
    Posted February 20, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    How much mayhem, how many homicides and suicides will occur when a campus full of stressed-out and emotionally volatile students can simply reach into their handbags or backpacks for a revolver?
    I understand that the question is rhetorical, but what is your prediction?

    Every time a state changes its gun laws, I see people predicting doom. But it never seems to come true.

    Most undergrads are under 21. So they can’t have a concealed carry permit in the first place. If I remember right, they can’t even buy revolvers.

    And, people with concealed carry permits commit very few crimes in the first place. So, this change seems particularly non-worry some.

    • HP
      Posted February 20, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      Villa:

      This is what doom looks like.

      Nobody’s predicting some new and unanticipated kind of doom. Just more and more of the same fucking doom we already have.

  8. Posted February 20, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Imagine what people in France, England, or Germany would think of this insanity!</blockquote

    We think it's insanity.

    (Even those of us who now live the US.)

  9. Posted February 20, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Are we permitted to hope that Perry shoots his foot off one day?
    I do think it’s time to permit certain states to secede from the rest of us.

    • sasqwatch
      Posted February 20, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      …or shoot *something* off.

      • Posted February 21, 2011 at 2:45 am | Permalink

        He’s always going off half-cocked anyway.

  10. Posted February 20, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Ah, this is not the only attempt by the Texas legislature to harm higher education; the Texas A & M system is now trying out a “cost effectiveness analysis” of its professors.

    As far as the guns: no, I doubt that violence will go up as most people aren’t going to bother. But it is pretty stupid to think that this is going to help in any way; if anything, some “Dirty Harry wannabe” might misinterpret a situation and start shooting, thereby hitting innocent bystanders. But I doubt that this will happen often enough to have a statistically significant effect.

    • RickK
      Posted February 20, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      How many dead kids does it take to be “statistically significant”.

      If Texas actually wanted to save lives, they’d outlaw handguns, collect them all, and destroy them. The statistics are clear – this would save lives.

  11. Filippo
    Posted February 20, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Who is anyone to question that most saintly of all political entities in the history of the universe, Texas?

    (for the record, sarcasm.)

    Do I correctly recall that it was spring, 1970, that some nutbag with a rifle starting picking off students on the quad from some(bell?) tower on the UTX-Austin campus?

    I recall hearing on NPR several years ago that the access door to the tower was unlocked after thirty-something years of being locked.

    (Today in the NY Times online one sees those “happy few” ersatz Confederates, in gun powdered genuflection firing into infinity, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the swearing in of that antebellum avatar, Jefferson Davis.)

    Perhaps it’s time to lock the bloody tower door again just in case the mind of a concealed weapon-bearer becomes unhinged and unconcealed?

    If one can bear a concealed (and therefore smaller) weapon, I gather that one is allowed to carry an unconcealed weapon, either a handgun or .22 or larger rifle? How about an unconcealed Crocodile Dundee “toothpick” sheathed on ones back? How about an unconcealed club with rusty nails sticking out of it?

    IF it must inescapably be legal in TX to tote a weapon on campus and where er’e else, perhaps it should be mandatory that it be unconcealed? After all, law enforcement personnel carry unconcealed weapons for the most part. If all weapons are visible then, to that extent and all else being equal, one person couldn’t get much of a jump on another. Concealment would be prima facie evidence of “evildoer” (re: Dubya) intent.

    • Barley masher
      Posted February 21, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      The tower is open again, only for guided tours, with high security, metal detectors and police.

  12. Barry
    Posted February 20, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Will the campus bookstores be selling custom holsters with school logos?

  13. Andy Dufresne
    Posted February 20, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Bill Maher made the point on his show a few weeks ago that right-wingers seem to have this fantasy that, if something violent did go down, someone who was armed could spring into action and take out the bad guys—like Robert Redford in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” It’d be kind of funny if it weren’t so mind-blowingly dangerous.

    • Microraptor
      Posted February 20, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      Yeah. Bad guys don’t have different color schemes from bystanders in real life.

    • reckoner
      Posted February 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      Agreed! Less people would get hurt if we would just let campus mass murders just finish their business. People are crazy for thinking otherwise. Don’t we all realize that shooting back at a campus murderer could potentially cause an innocent person to get shot? When it comes to preventing campus shootings, people really need to think about student safety.

  14. Burrr
    Posted February 20, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    To me as a non-american, a gun is a tool made for the explicit purpose of killing other human beings. And to me it’s simply crazy anyone can own a tool made for that purpose.

    • Microraptor
      Posted February 20, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      Guns have other purposes besides shooting humans (mostly shooting animals).

      That being said, if my college announced that they were going to start allowing students to pack concealed firearms around the campus I’d transfer immediately.

      • Posted February 20, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

        Handguns are designed specifically for killing humans. They are crap for hunting.

  15. DiscoveredJoys
    Posted February 20, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    The trouble with most laws is that they are not tracked for consequences.

    If a concealed carry on campus law was passed with a proviso that if more than, say, 5 innocent people were killed in a 5 year period the law would be repealed – then everyone would know what the maximum ‘potential cost’ was, and by implication what was acceptable.

    The debate then is about what is pragmatically acceptable, not some polarised ‘all guns are evil’ vs ‘gun ownership rights are sacrosanct’ sterile non-debate.

    • Ichthyic
      Posted February 20, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      The trouble with most laws is that they are not tracked for consequences.

      of course not.

      you think if they were, we’d HAVE half the idiotic legislation we do?

      but the numbers ARE out there for this kind of thing.

      If an it’s an issue of safety, the argument inevitably boils down to: does having a gun even make YOU personally safer against being shot, than not.

      the numbers on this are very clear.

      it doesn’t.

  16. MeAgain
    Posted February 20, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    They probably think that Major T.J. “King” Kong really did ride the bomb.

    Only in Texas … Arizona … New Mexico … Utah … Nevada … opps.

  17. Circe
    Posted February 20, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Imagine what people in France, England, or Germany would think of this insanity!

    I am not one of those nationalities, but as an Indian who currently goes to an university in the SF Bay area, I was rather shocked at the general “unsafe” nature of some of Bay Area’s cities*. At least the local theory seems to be that much of that is due to the fact that it is rather easy to obtain a gun.

    I am not sure if that is the correct cause, but if it is, then I don’t see any reason why somebody would want to make it a legal right to carry guns in campuses, of all places.

    *This was even more surprising given that I come from an Indian state which has one of the highest crime rates in India.

    • reckoner
      Posted February 21, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, you’re right. Certainly violent criminals who have easy access to guns will be courteous enough to respect campus gun laws. I don’t even know why arming yourself would even cross your mind?

  18. Adam M.
    Posted February 20, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    I think you should be fair and recognize in the article that only people with concealed carry permits would be legally allowed to carry concealed firearms, and in most places (including Texas), obtaining a permit requires passing various courses designed to instill training for proper use of firearms, etc. So it wouldn’t be the case that just anyone could legally carry a firearm.

    That said, I find it especially odd that they’d want to force universities to allow concealed carry when, according to Wikipedia, “[Texas allows] private businesses to post a specific sign prohibiting concealed carry, violation of which is grounds for revocation of the offender’s concealed carry permit. By posting the signs, businesses create areas where it is illegal to carry a concealed handgun similar to regulations concerning schools, hospitals, and public gatherings.” Why create an exemption to that particular law? Weird.

    • Ichthyic
      Posted February 20, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      obtaining a permit requires passing various courses designed to instill training for proper use of firearms, etc

      *yawn*

      because of course, THAT rule hasn’t at all been blatantly ignored.

      no sirreee.

      Moreover, when it is LEGAL to carry concealed firearms… who, exactly, are you going to be relying on to make sure everyone carrying has a permit?

      will you have metal detectors and qualified personnel at every university entrance to make sure anyone carrying a hidden weapon has a valid permit?

      yeah, that’s realistic.

      • reckoner
        Posted February 21, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

        It’s like, yea I know right!

        It’s almost as crazy as thinking violent criminals would ignore gun laws. The audacity! I mean , like if criminals are always respecting gun laws wouldn’t we expect there to be a lot more people who start carrying guns and pretend to have permits or something if we started giving people concealed carry rights? What is this world coming to? It’s going straight down the gugler I tell ya!

  19. Posted February 20, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Imagine what people in France, England, or Germany would think of this insanity!

    Can’t speak for them. Wanna hear what people in Canada think?

    • sasqwatch
      Posted February 20, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      I’d like to hear it. Shoot.

      • Posted February 20, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

        We think Americans are weird because they don’t have the same decent gun control laws that civilized countries have.

        The idea that a society would actually be safer if everyone was carrying a gun and was prepared to use it to shoot their fellow citizens is truly verging on insanity.

        • Microraptor
          Posted February 20, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

          It seems normal if you’re raised with it and never actually think about it.

          Rather like religion in that regard, actually.

        • Gregory Kusnick
          Posted February 21, 2011 at 12:17 am | Permalink

          Kind of goes along with the logic that says reducing taxes is a good way to raise revenue.

  20. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted February 20, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    History suggests that the result of allowing young men to routinely carry weapons is the emergence of a culture of dueling in which attempted homicide becomes not just acceptable but expected as a way of settling personal grievances. We see this in Renaissance Europe, in the Old West of Jesse James and Billy the Kid, and in today’s inner-city gangsta culture. Saying that “guns don’t turn reasonable people into murderers” misses the point that in an armed culture, the definition of what’s reasonable changes and the category of justifiable homicide expands to include defending your honor.

    In my opinion, universities are about the last place you’d want to try this experiment. (Well, OK, high schools would be worse.)

    • Posted February 20, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      and the category of justifiable homicide expands to include defending your honor…

      …and eliminating abortion-providers.

    • Filippo
      Posted February 21, 2011 at 6:49 am | Permalink

      The 19th century U.S. Congress provided inspirational role models vis-a-vis caning and dueling with pistols. Each incident likely got started with something like a SC representative vocalizing “You lie!”

  21. cnocspeireag
    Posted February 20, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Were I a student at an American university I might well feel more secure if armed. This presupposes that all my colleagues were disarmed. of course.

    • Filippo
      Posted February 21, 2011 at 6:56 am | Permalink

      Just congenially curious: accepting the notion that most humans would not use their concealed weapons, would you feel safer if those around you were carrying clearly unconcealed weapons, as opposed to concealed.

      I don’t want any non-security personnel carrying weapons on a campus, period. But IF it must be so, I’d rather be able to see who’s got one. I’d want the rare disgruntled nutbag to be able to see that too, instead of him betting that no one has a weapon.

  22. mikeyB
    Posted February 20, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Um, according to my count in a wiki article, since 1999 including Columbine, there have been 64 mid/high school and college related gun incidents and 124 victims – not including other incidents like Arizona. So the answer of course – more liberal gun laws. Insane.
    How many more Columbines & Virginia Techs is it going to take for people to start to seriously take on the NRA 2nd amendment nutbags? I guess if it doesn’t happen to you or your kid, who cares.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_shootings

  23. Posted February 20, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Since this is only for self defence, and only insane gunpersons are the targets, and everyone can carry a firearm to kill anyone that is insane and armed, perhaps this is an opportune time for Mad Science research to make the process more effient and accurate!

    What we need are skull caps with electrodes that detect when someone is insane, and about to shoot people. The cap can light up, so we know who to shoot and so innocent people are not shot.

    To take this innovation one step further, in the name of self-defence, we can wire the cap to a necklace that contains an explosive charge. I bet you can see where I am going with this. Once again, in the name of self defence, these should be compulsory.

    /snark off.

    What concerns me is that there will be some nutcases that will use “2nd Amendment solutions” to really teach the controversy over evolution :(

    • Filippo
      Posted February 21, 2011 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      Some such bloody redneck nutbag shot and killed members of a Unitarian church in Knoxville, TN a couple of years ago. (I’m originally from TN. I went to a wedding in that church a few years before.) If I correctly recall, whatever else put a wad in his drawers, he was agin them thar liberals and their positions on topics such as evolution. Would that it would instead have occurred to him darken the door of a snake-handling denomination and volunteer to “take up the serpent” or otherwise put his own nutbag self out of misery and just leave the rest of us alone.

  24. Tish
    Posted February 20, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    From what I know of the bill, it’s not letting college kids run about willy-nilly with guns. You’re still required to have a CHL. And frankly, I think I would feel better knowing I was armed, being a young female that visits multiple campuses each week. And really, people? Shooting someone over a grade?? Do people think handguns render people psychotic?? Come on.

    • Microraptor
      Posted February 20, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

      College students often display poor judgement.

      Adding guns to the mix isn’t going to be good. Ever seen what happens when a frat house starts a riot after a big football game and people start smashing streetlights and turning over cars? It doesn’t happen often, but it happens. Just imagine what happens if you added some drunk, belligerent, and armed people decide to resist arrest? Even one such incident would be one too many.

      • Filippo
        Posted February 21, 2011 at 7:23 am | Permalink

        Several years ago, some likely semi-intoxicated redneck went rumbling through a large N.C. State football outdoor tailgate party, with his actions and words insulting people here and there. A veteran (Marine?) called on him about it. The redneck left, came back with a gun, and the Marine got himself shot to death for standing his ground.

        Growing up in the South, I more than once heard uttered, “Ah’d jest as soon shoot yuh as look at yuh.” And also heard, “in jest,” from a chum who grew up in the same pious So. Baptist church I grew up in, “Ah’ve shot (plural N-word) fer less than that.” Mighty Christian of him. He wasn’t born with that sentiment falling off his lips. Is it unreasonable to say that sports (separate denominations of football, basketball, etc.) have become a religion?

        • Microraptor
          Posted February 21, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

          Given what I’ve seen when U of O and OSU are about to play each other, quite possibly.

    • Pali
      Posted February 21, 2011 at 12:03 am | Permalink

      Considering how rarely women are the ones who shoot up schools, how about we extend this ONLY to female students as compensation for the size/strength advantage male students tend to have?

      As a 6’2″ 200lb man who carries a knife out of habit and because it comes in handy at work (another advantage women tend not to share, at least in my experience – though I’ve known plenty of exceptions), this seems pretty fair to me… although tasers may be the better way to go for all involved.

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted February 21, 2011 at 12:21 am | Permalink

      And really, people? Shooting someone over a grade??

      Actually, I knew a professor who was murdered over a grade. So yeah, it does happen.

  25. Jim Thomerson
    Posted February 20, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    There were some shots fired at the Texas State Capitol building a while back. So metal detectors have been installed. As I understand it, If you have a concealed carry permit, or if you are carrying a long gun in an open and nonthreatening manner, you don’t have to go through the metal detector.

    • Filippo
      Posted February 21, 2011 at 7:31 am | Permalink

      Seems that all should go through the detector. If one is not an “evildoer,” then one shouldn’t mind going through the detector with ones concealed weapon. Actually, one should approach the detector, raise his arms, and announce to the staff that he is legally carrying a concealed weapon, assuming s/he has others best interests at heart.

  26. Alex
    Posted February 20, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    I think the passage of this bill will have no effect on anything either positive or negative.

    The fact is that guns are readily available in our society, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. This bill would do nothing to change access to guns. Banning them isn’t on the table and never will be (and there would be particularly strong cultural opposition to this in Texas). Violent psychopaths already have access to guns. If someone wants to walk onto a campus and start shooting people there is already nothing stopping them. Who would care if the university is posted as a gun-free zone if the plan is simply to kill a bunch of people?

    If the hope is that somebody will spot the concealed pistol and alert the police before it can be used in a crime, I find that pretty laughable. Contrary to popular belief, it’s pretty easy to conceal even a full sized pistol. And decades of concealed carry laws combined with magazine capacity limits have resulted in the production of some pretty tiny pistols designed for this purpose. Texas has around 400k CHL (concealed handgun license) holders and many of them carry daily without notice.

    The only affect the current laws have is to prevent CHL holders from carrying their weapons into campus buildings (they disarm when they arrive and leave them in their cars). If you don’t have a CHL, it’s already illegal in Texas to carry a pistol (concealed or openly) anywhere other than to/from your car. CHL holders in general just aren’t people you typically have to worry about. Texas has pretty strict requirements for a CHL (http://chltraining.com/eligibility.html) and they’re pretty aggressive about revoking them when eligibility status changes. CHL holders tend to have a much lower conviction rate than the rest of the population (http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/administration/crime_records/chl/ConvictionRatesReport2009.pdf) — compare to 1.6% of the Texas population holding a CHL (about 400k licenses and 25 million population).

    I don’t think it’s a very likely scenario that a CHL holder is going to save the day by putting a stop to an in-progress massacre, but the odds
    that a CHL holder, emboldened by his new found ability to legally carry into campus buildings, is going to start shooting people is vanishingly small.

    • winwar
      Posted February 21, 2011 at 12:45 am | Permalink

      Actually, the current law does not prevent carrying concealed weapons onto the campus. It just makes it illegal.

      Anecdote. Many years ago two students were in a dorm room in a college that prohibited firearms. They had concealed weapons permits. They were quite aware of proper weapon handling rules. One was showing the other a fully loaded handgun with the safety on. It was dropped. It suffered a mechanical failure which resulted in a discharge. Luckily no one was hurt and there was no damage. No one ever found out.

      The point? People do stupid things, especially young adults. People already carry concealed weapons on campus. I knew of multiple people who did so. While they may not shoot up the campus, bad things do happen by accident. And once people have weapons in the dorm it’s only a matter of time before they get stolen or used by someone who is irresponsible.

  27. misstexaskitty
    Posted February 20, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    And drinking…students on campus do drink, some of them drink a lot.

    This is a stupid idea.

  28. Monika
    Posted February 20, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    This leaves me (from Germany) scratching my head. It seems to me like an unhealthy obsession with guns. The only thing that strikes me as more weird is the worshiping of the American flag.

  29. Michael Kingsford Gray
    Posted February 21, 2011 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    Legislators in the USA in general, and Texas in particular, are unequivocally insane.

    • Ichthyic
      Posted February 21, 2011 at 1:35 am | Permalink

      It would indeed seem to be getting worse.

      Myself, I saw the insanity coming years back, and finally decided to join the expats.

      NZ is much saner.

      • Michael Kingsford Gray
        Posted February 21, 2011 at 2:07 am | Permalink

        I once saw myself as travelling to the USA, perhaps to execute academic business.
        But no longer.
        I now feel the same way about the USA as I do about Iran and Somalia combined, only with very real lunatics running the asylum.
        Kiwiland it shall have to be.
        The birth-place of Rutherford.

        • Filippo
          Posted February 21, 2011 at 7:34 am | Permalink

          How does Australia compare to New Zealand in this regard?

  30. Vincent Vega
    Posted February 21, 2011 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Members of the genus Homo Repulicanis seem hostile to any type of social interaction other than the power relationship.
    The less primitive social phenomena of reciprocity and communality make them uncomfortable.

    As one who grew up far from these shores, I can assure you that this Texas initiative will reinforce the not altogether inaccurate view from the civilized world that a sizable chunk of the American citizenry is comprised of violent, uncultured morons.

    • Filippo
      Posted February 21, 2011 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      “Homo Republicanus.” “GOP”: “Grand Old Party.” Greedy Old Patriarchs?

      Re: “power relationship.” That is, from their capitalist ideology (theology?), it is permissable to treat human beings as human “resources” and human “capital,” as if just another ore extracted from the earth.

      “Slaves,” “serfs,” “indentured servants,” “wage slaves” “human capital,” “human resources, even “public servants” (teachers, police, what have you) appear to differ not in kind but in degree.

      Consider the etymology of “Capital,” “(slave) cap,” “decapitation.”

      Amuricuns have little knowledge of the Statue of Freedom on the dome of the U.S. CAPitol (versus CAPital, and as opposed to the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor).

      The original design called for the female figure to wear a “liberty CAP,” the sign of a freed Roman slave. Jefferson Davis (the 150th anniversary of his inaugural speech celebrated yesterday by gun-firing Confederate wannabes in Richmond, VA) and his ilk vehemently opposed this, spinning a rationalization to the effect that it somehow besmirched American citizens (more precisely, white, propertied males, who believed that those who OWNED the country should be those in power), as if they had been formerly slaves instead of always free citizens.

      Of course the real reason is that Southerners (with a historical memory of the large slave revolt in Louisiana and their plantation owner forebears decapitating the slaves and sticking their heads on pikes strategically posted on tops of levees for all to see) preferred the Roman centurionesque helmet, lest their slaves get any slave liberty cap-inspired ideas.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statue_of_Freedom

      On page 213 of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book “Team of Rivals,” one reads of the care William Seward (Lincoln’s future secretary of state) took in drafting his speech before Congress in support of Lincoln’s candidacy.

      Just as one does when dealing with an oppositionally-defiant adolescent with a chip on his shoulder – or, more precisely – a modern day temper trantum-throwing Tea Partier or Republican capitalist ideologue with a heightened sense of entitlement, and accustomed to treating humans as mere “resources” (re: the current collective bargaining showdown in Wisconsin), so did Seward strive to be extremely careful in dealing with the delicate sensibilities of the Southern faction and its sympathizers:

      “Seward took as his theme the enduring quality of the national compact. Though he maintained his principled opposition to slavery, he softened his tone, referring to the slave states as ‘capital States,’ while the free states became the ‘labor States.’ ”

      There it is. If one performs a sufficiently-penetrating Vulcan mind meld, one sees that s/he has always been and will continue to be, in the Capitalist’s eyes, merely a resource – a slave – to be manipulated and exploited.

  31. Andrew
    Posted February 21, 2011 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Are there really similar laws already in place in Utah and Colorado? Have these states experienced an increase in campus violence since these laws were enacted?

    • reckoner
      Posted February 21, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      That seems to be the salient question here. Anyone have any answers? Have there been increased shootings over two guys arguing about whose confederate flag belt buckle is more badass? Or over some shit-talkn’ text messages about someone’s exgirlfriend? Anyone?

  32. Garnetstar
    Posted February 21, 2011 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Not that many students in Utah drink. They sure do in Texas.

    What’s going to happen is that two drunken kids will get into an argument that escalates into a gunfight.

    That is likely, I think in fact inevitable. Wouldn’t take an insane student or someone who’s willing to break laws. Just two normal students who get drunk.

    • reckoner
      Posted February 21, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      Who gets drunk on campus?

  33. Teapot
    Posted February 21, 2011 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    The USA has high gun ownership and a high murder rate. Britain has lower gun ownership and a lower murder rate.

    BUT as pointed out by the late great Bill Hicks, there is *no* connection between these two facts and you’re A Fool And A Communist if you think that there is one!

    • GhostOfColemanYoung
      Posted February 21, 2011 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      I have very little interest in gun issues overall, so I don’t have any prediction of what the effect will be. But it surprises me how willing people commenting on this site are to trust their common sense notions and make “cause = correlation” shortcuts that they’d never let pass in a scientific claim.

      Sure, it makes intuitive sense that there’s a causal link between access to guns and murder rate, but I also find it plausible that both gun acceptance and high murder rate are the result of a more fundamental cultural problem. And if it is a cultural problem, I worry that focusing on gun legislation gets us no closer to making us safer.

  34. SAWells
    Posted February 21, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    I worked at Arizona State for a few years. It was weird enough seeing someone prove their age at the cinema by producing a concealed-carry licence. Guns on campus is the sort of thing that’s going to mean a lot of non-USAnians just stop coming to your universities. Which, since foreign postdocs are doing a lot of the research, will kill your universities. Which is presumably what the law is intended to achieve.

    Fuck.

  35. Kirth Gersen
    Posted February 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Given the massive cuts to education that Rick “The Snake” Perry is proposing here in Texas (and he has the line-item power to make them stick), there are unlikely to be any students or faculty left to get shot.

    I registered solely for the purpose of voting against Perry — not that any non-Republican vote even counts here.

  36. sponge bob
    Posted February 21, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    If I was teaching, I’d just put a 12-guage on the podium at the start of every class and make sure my S&W was clearly visible in my holster. Go ahead, make my day.

    • Michael Kingsford Gray
      Posted February 21, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      Another bloody testosterone-fuelled imbecilic fatuous troglodyte.
      That’s exactly what this insane situation requires.
      Fuel on the fire.
      USA has gone down the gurgler for good.

  37. reckoner
    Posted February 21, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always had a hard time with these gun issues. While I don’t want to live in the ‘wild west’ I also don’t necessarily think that violent criminals should be the only ones that can be armed. The thought that gun laws are likely to prevent a murderer from killing someone in a public atmosphere, such as a campus, has never really made a lot of sense to me. I personally would rather be armed.

    Of course you might argue that guns should just go away altogether. Good luck with that. I guess there is also the argument that people might be inclined to commit ‘heat of the moment’ shootings due to the convenience of having a weapon on them. This, I don’t know about. Maybe if concealed carry was extended to bars and saloons then that argument would hold more water. It’s hard to say. Besides, it’s not as if legalizing concealed carry on campus would immediately arm every idiot out there.

    If we can reasonably believe that concealed carry laws seek to only grant the right of concealed carry to individuals who are highly unlikely to go about shooting people, (which I think is a realistic endeavor), then I think these same people should be able to arm themselves on a campus. What’s the difference anyhow? If we grant the right of concealed carry to responsible individuals, then what’s the difference between a legal bearer of a concealed weapon walking down the street and the same person who steps over the curb onto the campus grounds?

    Maybe if we made people leave their concealed weapons in their glove boxes on campus side streets…

  38. Barley masher
    Posted February 21, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    Certain right wingers are obsessed with guns, most of their justifications for advocation are irrational. Seems like they heavily promote it partly since they know it irritates liberals. They seem to think guns make them tough, self reliant, etc, like all their heroes from another era. Here in texas it obviously plays well with bubba, rednecks, and seems to be spreading to the general conservative population

  39. llewelly
    Posted February 22, 2011 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    With the direction education funding is going in the US, I am convinced that professors and students will soon be forced to hunt squirrels for food, thus making guns on campus a necessity, except for the few who can throw a good rock.

  40. Tim
    Posted February 23, 2011 at 12:33 am | Permalink

    Think like a criminal… If you are going to go shoot some place up, where are you going to go? A gun range? NO! Everyone there will shoot you. A school where everyone is NOT ALLOWED to carry weapons. YES! People that might shoot you will not follow the law regardless. Those of us that are not crazy deserve the right to arm ourselves. It is not like every student will be packing heat. Currently we can carry weapons in most places; few people do. Places that allow concealed weapons do NOT have high rates of gun incidents.

    • Microraptor
      Posted February 23, 2011 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      Surprisingly enough, neither do most places that don’t allowed concealed weapons.

  41. flynscot
    Posted February 25, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    The press are, as usual, leaving out key information when reporting on the bill (which, I believe, has now passed), which is, predictably, generating all sorts of idiotic buzz on the news and the net.

    The law will NOT give ANY/ALL college students the ability to carry guns on campus. It only gives students who hold a Concealed Carry Permit in Texas(Are at least 21, have had a background check, have completed the training course, and have been granted the permit) the ability to excercise the priviledges of that permit on a college campus. Previously, that ability was restricted.

    The new law simply lifts the restriction applying to permit holders carrying on campus.

    • Michael Kingsford Gray
      Posted February 26, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      Oh well; that’s all right then!
      We all know that those with a permit will remain mentally stable and will not actually use their concealed lethal weapon, nor display it to their fellow adolescents, nor have it stolen, nor even use it.
      What is the point of bringing a concealed lethal weapon, the ONLY purpose of which is to kill humans, onto campus if it is not going to be used?

      The title of this article still applies, despite your dubious claim that it constitutes an “idiot buzz”.

  42. Sammy
    Posted July 12, 2012 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    I’m from France, this is pure insanity. This is what happen when stupid ignorant religious fanatics anti-progress have the power. Pity for Texas and US in general


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