Concealed Carry on Campus – Tell the Truth!

Blog / October 1, 2008

Dr. Maria Felix-Ortiz had a column in the San Antonio Express News that was baffling because of its lack of logic and bad research.  Let’s take a look, shall we?

In August, state Sen. Jeff Wentworth said he planned to introduce a bill “to allow persons who are licensed to carry a concealed weapon to do so on a college campus.” He explained that because only people who are 21 or older may be licensed to carry a concealed weapon in Texas, “few college students would be eligible to carry a weapon on campus.” (Also, some military personnel are exempt from the age rule.)

So far so good.  Thanks Senator Wentworth!

But Dr. Felix-Ortiz doesn’t like that idea so much:

A person’s brain is still developing well into his or her early 20s. Among the parts of the brain that develop last is the frontal lobe, the part responsible for judgment, planning and impulse control. Without this fully developed, a person is likely to have an “itchy trigger finger.”

Not only is that a sad attempt at a play on words, Doc, but apparently by your logic I probably shouldn’t have lived on my own, planned my own college schedule, purchased things with cash instead of credit (though I’ll concede the occasional impulse purchase of new high heels) and due to my ~developmental~ judgment voting is probably a bad idea, as well as all other things in life that require judgment like doing proper research on an essay, not cheating on a test, being kind to my fellow student and the most respected conservative organization in the state of Texas.  But what do I know?  I’m just an early twentysomething….

If someone on campus has a lack of impulse control, what will prevent him from using the gun unwisely? What would prevent him from turning the gun on himself if he becomes depressed? Even this would result in additional injury to those who witness the suicide or aftermath. What would prevent gun-wielders from turning it on others who’ve angered them? How do free speech and education occur in a climate of fear?

Let’s breakdown the "argument", which is based on a hypothetical.  Dr. Felix-Ortiz omits some important information about obtaining a concealed carry license in order to panic readers into distress about the subject matter.

That information is:

  1. Be 21 years old. (Members and former members of the armed forces must be 18.)
  2. Have a clean criminal history, including military service and recent juvenile records.
  3. Not be under a protective order.
  4. Not be chemically dependent.
  5. Not be of unsound mind.
  6. Not be delinquent in paying fines, fees, child support, student loans, etc.
  7. Be eligible to purchase a handgun by completing the NICS check.
  8. Complete required training.

Furthermore, don’t forget this: "Contrary to popular myth, most psychiatric professionals agree that the notion of a previously sane, well-adjusted person simply ‘snapping’ and becoming violent is not supported by case evidence. A Secret Service study* into school shootings concluded that school shooters do not simply snap and that a person’s downward spiral toward violence is typically accompanied by numerous warning signs."

“Safe School Initiative: An Interim Report on the Prevention of Targeted Violence in Schools,” U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education with support from the National Institute of Justice, Co-Directors Bryan Vossekuil, Marissa Reddy PhD, Robert Fein PhD, October 2000

But then Dr. Felix-Ortiz says this, oh how I’ve heard this "argument" before:

Particularly on a campus, how will alcohol mix with guns on party night?

So I answer it with this:

"This is NOT a debate about keeping guns out of the hands of college students. Allowing concealed carry on college campuses would not change the rules about who can buy a gun or who can obtain a concealed handgun license. Every state that provides for legalized concealed carry has statutes prohibiting license holders from carrying while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Legalizing concealed carry on college campuses would neither make it easier for college students to obtain firearms nor make it legal for a person to carry a firearm while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Allowing concealed carry on college campuses would have no impact on the laws regulating concealed carry at bars and off-campus parties, the places where students (particularly students of legal age to obtain a concealed handgun license) are most likely to consume alcohol."

This is getting tiring proving this entire column to be nonsensical!  But it isn’t over yet, sadly:

Also, in an emergency, who’d coordinate the response so that only the shooter is disabled? Police shouldn’t have to worry about students or faculty interfering in their coordinated response and ruining their chance to apprehend the perpetrator.

In an ambush situation, it’s highly unlikely that an armed mob could mount a coordinated response. Even if the threat were somewhere in the distance, they’d be extremely fearful and have an immature frontal lobe and a gun.

The condescending tone towards those in their early twenties is disturbing, considering the age and requirements we’re talking about in regards to have a CHL.  This argument is about putting the odds back in the favor of the innocent students on campus.

Police on campus do a fantastic job, but they can’t always be there and they can’t always be quick to respond.  If I’m walking back to my car at night on campus like I do after my classes get out at night I want to know that I can feel safe and that I can defend myself.  My college doesn’t have campus police.  We have unarmed security guards and there’s been a shooting on campus before.

In the case of the UT Austin sniper shooting those "immature frontal lobes and guns" saved a lot of lives:

As police rushed to the scene, officers already on the UT campus struggled to formulate a plan. At that time, the Austin Police Department had no SWAT team. Officers were armed only with service revolvers and shotguns, both useless against a sniper firing from a fortified position high above the ground.

Seeing that something had to be done, students quickly retrieved hunting rifles from dorm rooms and fraternity houses, took up defensive positions throughout the campus and returned fire. In the August 2006 edition of Texas Monthly magazine, Bill Helmer, a graduate student at UT during the shooting, recalled the experience to journalist Pamela Colloff: He said he remembered thinking, "All we need is a bunch of idiots running around with rifles." But what they did turned out to be brilliant. Once the shooter could no longer lean over the edge and fire, he was much more limited in what he could do. That’s why he did most of his damage in the first 20 minutes.

And finally, Dr. Felix-Ortiz concludes her piece with this:

Before legislators allow concealed weapons on campus, they might first try legislating that each campus develop and rehearse emergency plans similar to what cities do to prepare for disasters. Otherwise, legislators ought to provide additional funding to students and faculty for bulletproof vests and helmets.

Sadly, after a stabbing at the University of Texas at Pan American, the school’s "emergency plan" was to tell students to walk in groups in brightly lit areas of campus.

Excuse me while I clutch a flashlight with my girlfriends, but I still think we’d be no match for an assailant with a firearm.  But if you give me my fighting chance back I won’t have to trust my life and my friends’ lives to a can of seasoning.

Enabling students to carry on campus if they are CHL holders tilts the odds back in their favor.

Unfortunately still, the Doctor’s argument about citizens’ preparation for disasters ignores how concealed carry exists to date in Texas and those same arguments were used to try to outlaw it.  But in the case of former State Representative Suzanna Hupp, that right to carry could’ve changed her life:

Suzanna Gratia Hupp will live the rest of her life with regret. Had she been carrying her gun the day a madman executed her parents while she cowered helplessly and then fled, she is convinced she could have stopped one of the worst massacres in U.S. history.

It was October 1991 when an unemployed merchant seaman drove his pickup truck into a Luby’s cafeteria in Killeen, Tex., leaped out and opened fire. He killed 23 people and wounded more than 20.

Hupp and her parents were having lunch in the restaurant when the shooting started. Hupp instinctively reached into her purse for her .38-caliber Smith & Wesson, but she had left it in the car. Her father tried to rush the gunman and was shot in the chest. As the gunman reloaded, Hupp escaped through a broken window, thinking her
mother was behind her.

But Hupp’s mother had crawled alongside her dying husband of 47 years to cushion his head in her lap. Police later told Hupp they saw her mother look up at the gunman standing over her, then bow down before he shot her in the head.

"I’d like people to think about what happened to me, and try to place themselves in that situation," Hupp said yesterday between a string of interviews in which she relived the tragedy as Exhibit A in her argument against restrictive gun laws. "Now, instead of thinking of their parents, have it be their children.

"Even if you choose not to have a gun, as the bad guy who ignored all the laws is getting close to you and as he levels that firearm at one of your children, don’t you hope the person next to you has chosen to carry a gun and knows how to use it?"


She carried it in her purse. But, afraid of losing her chiropractic license if she were arrested for carrying a concealed weapon, she often kept it beneath the passenger seat of her car.

That’s where it was, 150 feet from Hupp’s grasp, the day George Hennard burst into Luby’s. The what-ifs haunt her. Hennard stood barely 10 feet from her. He was up, she was down. She had clear aim. The upturned table would have steadied her hand. Though not a crack shot, she had hit smaller targets from farther distances.

"The point is, people like this–no, scumbags like this; I won’t put them in the people category–are looking for easy targets," said Hupp. "That’s why we see things occurring at schools, post offices, churches and cafeterias in states that don’t allow concealed carrying."

Anti gun lies debunked…yet again.