Texas lawmakers say concealed guns bill needed

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 23, 2013 at 4:01 pm •  Published: January 23, 2013
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"It's a tense atmosphere," Ellis said.

A volley of gunshots around noon Tuesday at Lone Star College prompted a lockdown then evacuation of the campus and set off worries that the campus could be under siege by a shooter. While some students huddled in classrooms for safety, others fled as soon as they heard the first shots.

"To stay where I wasn't an option," said Keisha Cohn, 27, who fled from a building that houses computers and study areas. All the students were eventually evacuated, running out of buildings as police officers led them to safety.

Authorities have charged 22-year-old Carlton Berry with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Officials say an argument between Berry and another man escalated into gunfire that injured them and a maintenance worker.

Richard Carpenter, chancellor of the Lone Star College System, said the campus is a gun-free zone that "has been safe for 40 years."

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which has opposed the guns on campus measure, said the gunfire at Lone Star College is "yet another example that the gun lobby is out of touch with the American public, as they continue to push the false idea that more guns on our streets and campuses will solve the problem. As a nation, we know we are better than this."

The concealed weapons bill is just one school-safety related bill Texas lawmakers are considering this session.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has proposed spending state money to give teachers and other school personnel weapons and tactical response training. On Tuesday, shortly after the Lone Star College incident, three Houston-area lawmakers proposed allowing voters to set up special school safety taxing districts to raise money for armed guards and other security measures.

The Texas State Teachers Association and the Texas PTA have said they oppose arming teachers and that security should be left to professional guards and law enforcement.

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Associated Press Writer Juan A. Lozano contributed from Houston.