As a trustee for the Dallas County Community College District, I take my position very seriously. Serving our community is a priority of mine. Being a citizen in the United States of America, however, is an even higher priority. If a mass shooting were to take place on one of our campuses, I will not be the trustee who looks into the eyes of a victim’s family and says that I didn’t do everything I could to have prevented such a tragedy.
In her recent op-ed column, instructor Joanna Cattanach — like others who try to call into question our Second Amendment rights — fails to understand the importance of this amendment. Instead, she and others play on the field of emotions rather than focus on the security of our students.
Let me remind Cattanach and everyone who reads this: Gun violence happens only in gun-free zones. It would be more accurate to call them target zones instead because, time and time again, we have seen innocent lives lost because those who are trained to operate a firearm are forbidden from carrying one.
For those who do not remember, there was an incident that happened here in Texas over two decades ago. I am proud to call Suzanna Hupp a dear friend, and I will never forget the tragedy that she and her family faced one dark day at a Luby’s in Killeen.
On Oct. 16, 1991, George Hennard drove a pickup through a plate-glass window and proceeded to kill 23 innocent people while wounding another 27. Hupp was there that day to have lunch with her parents. She was trained to use a firearm, but because the law forbade her to carry it, she was forced to leave her handgun in the car. She could have lost her license to practice medicine by keeping the gun with her. This inability to carry a concealed weapon kept Hupp from taking down a delusional psychopath intent on death and destruction. I guarantee, looking back, she would have gladly traded her medical license in order to have saved her mother, father and others.
Many people needlessly lost someone they love. Their tears would not have been necessary had Hupp’s Second Amendment rights not been denied that fateful day. Let that soak in.
Fast forward to other shootings, including those on education campuses: Columbine High School, Virginia Tech University, Sandy Hook Elementary. All of these have one thing in common: They happened in gun-free zones.
Cattanach writes that “it is absurd for a 21-year old freshman to have a handgun in a classroom.” What is more absurd is that 21-year-old being unable to protect himself and his classmates if someone opens fire.
She fails to mention that the law says that in order to carry a weapon on campus they must first have a concealed carry permit. In order to get one, a Texan must prove to the state that he or she has no criminal history and is proficient in the use of a firearm, of sound mind and able to pass a background check.
Between the years 1996 and 2011, nearly 4.3 million Texans applied for concealed carry licenses. During that time, there were only 30 incidents of a murder committed with a firearm by someone with a permit. That is a rate of .0007 percent.
I think we would all be happy with a crime rate that low. I sincerely hope Cattanach would agree.
As a trustee, I will play a role in determining the policy for campus carry on the Dallas County Community College District campuses. My proposal is to place no restrictions on the right of students to carry concealed weapons on campus. Cattanach says she wants the ability to walk into a classroom that is safe. I agree. Students’ ability to protect themselves is exactly what helps ensure that safety.