On Tuesday afternoon, the nation experienced its 49th school shooting since the Columbine massacre in 1999, when an altercation between two individuals set off at least five gunshots at Lone Star College in north Houston, Texas, injuring both parties and a nearby janitor caught in the crossfire. The college and the surrounding schools went into lockdown as police secured the area, chasing one of the suspects involved in the incident into a wooded area behind the school. Both men suffered gun shot wounds and are now in custody.
Texas is one of 49 states with a concealed carry law, permitting licensed individuals to carry firearms within the state, and lawmakers have introduced legislation that would allow college students and staff with concealed weapon permits to carry firearms on school grounds. Firearms are currently prohibited at Lone Star.
Now, top Republican lawmakers — including Gov. Rick Perry and Rep. Tim Poe — are using Tuesday’s incident to call for more weapons on campus. KTRK’s Ted Oberg has the report:
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.
Five days ago, Texas State Sen. Brian Birdwell (R) and 13 other Republican authors introduced a measure that would prohibit higher ed institutions from imposing “bans or penalties on students who are licensed to carry a concealed handgun.” Schools could prohibit firearms at college sporting events, however. A similar bill failed to pass last year.
Lone Star already employs armed police officers and unarmed security guards.