It appears that collegians in Texas soon will be able to pack heat on campus.
The Texas Senate on Monday passed a bill that will allow handgun license holders to carry concealed guns in college and university buildings. And, yes, the bill could also clear the way for gun-toting law students.
This Reuters report says the legislation is likely to garner broad support in the Texas House and from Governor Rick Perry, a gun enthusiast.
“My goal this whole time is to put doubt in the mind of the shooter that, ‘Well, maybe I shouldn’t go on that campus and try to take a bunch of kids out,’” Texas senator Jeff Wentworth, the author of the bill, told Reuters.
Utah is the only other state that allows guns on college campuses.

Wall Street Journal: “Guns on Campus Nears Reality in Texas” by Nathan Koppel, May 11, 2011

From Wikipedia, I gathered the following events:

  • Article “Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990”:
  • The Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 was enacted as section 1702 of the Crime Control Act of 1990 and signed by President George H.W. Bush on November 29, 1990. It was subsequently declared to be an unconstitutional exercise of Congressional authority under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution by the United States Supreme Court, and was therefore voided. This case, United States v. Lopez (1995), was the first time in over half a century that the Supreme Court limited Congressional authority to legislate under the Commerce Clause.

  • In consequence of the Luby’s massacre which took place on October 16, 1991, in Killeen, Texas (the second deadliest shooting after the Virginia Tech massacre):
  • Responding to the massacre, in 1995 the Texas Legislature passed a shall-issue gun law, which requires that all qualifying applicants be issued a Concealed Handgun License (the state’s required permit to carry concealed weapons), removing the personal discretion of the issuing authority to deny such licenses.

Governor Rick Perry, one of the supporters for the new bill, was apparently inspired by a shooting which take place at the University of Texas on September 28, 2010:

However, days after a gunman went onto the University of Texas campus in Austin and took his own life, Governor Rick Perry says he believes concealed weapons should be allowed. However, he only thinks it should be allowed if the owner is well-trained and licensed. ( “Gov. Perry Pushes for Concealed Weapons on College Campuses” by Abby Reed)

A few month earlier, in 2010, Gov. Perry made the headlines when he shot and killed a coyote encountered while he was jogging:

AUSTIN — Pistol-packing Texas Gov. Rick Perry has a message for wily coyotes out there: Don’t mess with my dog.
Perry (R) told the Associated Press on Tuesday that he needed just one shot from the laser-sighted pistol he sometimes carries while jogging to take down a coyote that menaced his puppy during a February run near Austin.
Perry said he carries his .380 Ruger — loaded with hollow-point bullets — when jogging on trails because he is afraid of snakes. But when a coyote came out of the brush toward his daughter’s Labrador retriever, Perry charged.
“Don’t attack my dog, or you might get shot . . . if you’re a coyote,” he said Tuesday. (The Washington Post: “Texas Gov. Perry fatally shoots coyote” by Associated Press, April 28, 2010)

Below are statistical resources about crime in the United-States:

  • The Disaster Center: “U.S. Crime Statistics Total and by State 1960-2009”
  • Texas Department of Public Safety: “Crime in Texas” (reports from 1999 to 2009). In the Index Crime Analysis of the Texas Crime Report for 2009 (PDF), one can read the following data:
    • “The murder rate for Texas in 2009 was 5.4 murders for every 100,000 persons, a decrease of 3.6 percent from 2008” (the average rate for the United-States in 2009 was 5.0; the highest rate in Texas since 1960 was observed in 1980: it was 16.9 – see The Disaster Center: Texas Crime Rate 1960-2009);
    • “Of the 1,327 murders in 2009, 68 percent were committed by the use of firearms;”
    • “Justifiable homicide is the killing of a felon by a peace officer in the line of duty or the killing (during the commission of a felony) of a felon by a private citizen. In 2009, there were 106 justifiable homicides, of which, 52 were felons killed by private citizens, and 54 were felons killed by police.”

  • According to the U.S. Peace Index which has been created by the Institute for Economics and Peace, Texas is the 6th most violent state in the United-States (while Maine is the most peaceful). See the full report in PDF. There’s a whole section about methodology and data source:
  • For the purpose of this study, peace has been defined as “the absence of violence”. This definition is easily understood while also being relatively open to empirical quantification.The methodological framework was based on envisaging a society that is perfectly at peace; a society where there is no violence, no police and no one in jail. Evidently, this does not exist in any modern developed nation. Without police crime would be rampant, while violence can be reduced by increasing the number of police and/or jailing large numbers of individuals. The indicators and scores in the USPI are relative measures of peace and the prevalence of these factors reflects the degree of violence, or lack of peace within a society. The most peaceful societies therefore would have the lowest prevalence of these indicators of violence.

  • The FBI Uniform Crime Reports provides a huge amount of statistical data about crime in the United-States:
  • The Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program was conceived in 1929 by the International Association of Chiefs of Police to meet a need for reliable, uniform crime statistics for the nation. In 1930, the FBI was tasked with collecting, publishing, and archiving those statistics. Today, several annual statistical publications, such as the comprehensive Crime in the United States, are produced from data provided by nearly 17,000 law enforcement agencies across the United States.


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