Multiple people were shot Tuesday at Lone Star College in north Houston, Texas, during what police are calling an “altercation between two individuals” – and the response is unsurprising. The Texas Republican Party is using the incident as a rallying cry for more guns in schools.
Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) said that students were “defenseless” during the shooting and called for public colleges to reevaluate whether or not they should allow concealed carry weapons on campus. Texas Gov. Rick Perry also has lent his support to any measure that would allow students and faculty to carry firearms on campus.
See the exchange below, courtesy of ThinkProgress:
OBERG: Governor Perry said this afternoon his thoughts and prayers are with all the victims, but that anyone licensed and who has training on how to carry a weapon should be able to carry that weapon anywhere within the state and [that he would] indeed review the bill that’s been filed quickly. …. We talked to Ted Poe from the north Houston area, who said students today were defenseless on that campus.
POE: It brings to focus the fact that many schools and universities and students have — are defenseless at the schools and places of higher education and this seems to show that.
That interview came just days after Texas State Sen. Brian Birdwell (R) and 13 other state senators introduced a measure making it illegal for schools to impose “bans or penalties on students who are licensed to carry a concealed handgun” and choose to do so on campus.
Unfortunately for the GOP, this incident raises more questions about whether guns in schools will help to end mass violence than it resolves. For one, both of the primary persons of interest in the case were armed. Rather than an attempt at a massacre, it highlights how quickly tensions can flare between young people and how impulsive situations can easily spiral out of control if firearms are readily accessible. If anything, the details seem to make this particular shooting an example of why guns shouldn’t be allowed on college campuses.
John Avlon of The Daily Beast argues that the Lone Star shooting demonstrates that putting more guns on campuses is a “truly stupid idea” and that “the reactionary impulse to look at school shootings and say the solution is more guns on campuses across America is a monument to idiotic group-think.”
The chancellor of the University of Texas system, Francisco Cigarroa, has warned that guns “will make a campus a less safe environment.” On the pro-gun front, however, there appears to be absolutely no decrease in momentum in the push to allow guns everywhere. Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President of the NRA, recently defended that organization’s uncompromising position on gun rights. After President Obama recently suggested that the NRA was mistaking principle for “absolutism,” LaPierre went ahead and did exactly what one would expect from him now – argue in favor of absolutism.
“Obama wants to turn the idea of absolutism into a dirty word – just another word for extremism,” LaPierre said.
One remote town, Harrold, already allows teachers to carry a concealed firearm – but that district is 30 minutes from the nearest sheriff’s office.
23 days into the new year, there have already been 5 school shootings.