May 20, 2009
Gun Lobby’s Dangerous Legislation Now Moves to House; Advocates Call for Leadership and Serious Efforts to Keep Guns Off Campus
AUSTIN, TX – Today the Texas state senate passed dangerous legislation that would force the carrying of hidden and concealed guns at public universities and colleges. The measure now heads to the House where college students and gun violence prevention advocates are calling for leadership to prevent the bill’s passage. The bill threatens the safety of students, professors, and staff and increases the risks of gun violence on college campuses by making weapons more readily available.
John Woods, a student at Virginia Tech whose girlfriend was killed during the shooting and now a graduate student at the University of Texas, called the proposed Texas legislation an “insult” to the victims and survivors. “The fact that the state senate refused to accept an amendment keeping guns out of campus bars and hospitals shows that this bill is ideologically motivated and has little to do with student safety and campus security.”
“The majority of Texas senators have chosen to ignore the fact that Texas college administrators, campus law enforcement, parents and students have asked them not to pass this dangerous legislation. Doing the bidding of the gun lobby is more important to these senators than the safety of our colleges,” said Marsha McCartney, President of the Texas Chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
Most troubling is that Texas state law prohibits university administrators, educators and campus law enforcement officials from lobbying the state legislature. These institutions are “gagged” from speaking out about this dangerous legislation that directly affects their security and safety.
Gun proponents continue to say that prohibitions against carrying guns on campuses violates their Second Amendment rights. But even Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority in the Heller case that stripped D.C. of its handgun ban, stated conclusively: “Nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings.”
“This issue goes well beyond Texas, and represents the encroachment of the gun lobby’s radical agenda into dictating the safety of higher education in America. I think parents, students, and universities need to realize that their communities and colleges are at risk of being run over by the gun lobby,” said Andy Pelosi, who heads the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus.
The Campaign is organizing universities to fight the gun lobby’s agenda. To date, 88 colleges and universities in 23 states have joined the Campaign.
View current list at www.keepgunsoffcampus.org .