Guns on campus debate heats up after Lone Star College shooting


by Kevin Reece / KHOU 11 News

Posted on January 24, 2013 at 10:03 AM

Updated Thursday, Jan 24 at 10:03 AM

HOUSTON -- The Lone Star College campus and all other college campuses in the state are gun-free zones.

But Tuesday’s shooting rekindled a debate already brewing in Austin: Should Texas college students be allowed to carry pistols for their own protection?

Just five days before the Lone Star College shooting, state Senator Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury) introduced Senate Bill 182.

If the bill passes, it would allow students, faculty and staff with a concealed handgun license to carry a gun on Texas college campuses.

"For me, this isn't just about the firearm," the Sen. Birdwell said. "It's about trusting citizens with their God-given constitutional rights."

But while lawmakers in Austin decide whether they will change Texas law, five other states -- Colorado, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin -- already allow concealed handguns on public college campuses.

Twenty-three other states allow colleges and universities to make the decision on their own.

"I think it would probably be a lot safer,” said Lone Star College student Victoria Rodriguez.

"I mean I just don't think they need to be for everyone,” said Lone Star College student Tyler Stright. “I mean, I think they just need to be off campus completely.”

The proposed Texas law would not allow all students to carry -- but only those 21 and older.

“You know, it really doesn't matter,” said Rodriguez, “because you never know what to expect."