Senator Ellis Media Advisory

For Your Information
April 7, 2011
Contact: Jeremy Warren, 512-463-0113

Ellis Statement on Initial Senate Rejection of Guns on Campus

(AUSTIN)—"More guns on campus are simply not good for Texas. Texas students and nearly all of our public universities have clearly registered their opposition to allowing concealed guns on our campuses. This bill does absolutely nothing to improve the safety of students on campus and will make dangerous situations that much more deadly by creating confusion for law enforcement.

"The solution to a problem is not more of the problem. When there is an alcohol-related tragedy on campus, you don't hand out 12-packs. Yet, when it comes to gun-related incidents, some seem to think that putting more guns in the mix will lead to a good, rather than bloody outcome.

"In the wake of the Virginia Tech tragedy, 23 states have rejected guns on campus. From Arizona to Alabama to Virginia -- not exactly left-wing, anti-gun states -- elected leaders studied the issue, listened to their universities and students and said adding weapons would not solve the problem. In fact, Virginia has again rejected just this type of bill. If we are going to use this tragedy as a spur for action, then maybe we should examine what the people and students of Virginia have actually done in wake of the tragedy.

"As it is today, campus law enforcement knows that if they see someone on campus with a gun, that person is violating the law and needs to be treated as a suspect. Under SB 354, we are going to make if much more difficult for law enforcement to know who the bad actors are.

"Senate Bill 354 is a bad solution to a serious problem. Again, it makes us feel like we've gotten tough -- deputizing students -- but the fact is that the universities don't want it, and law enforcement doesn't want it because they know it will not make our campuses safer. It might make a great campaign mailer, but it will absolutely not make students safer.

"If we are going to go down this road of more guns on campus, then the students on a campus ought to make the decision. Students must approve fee increase for a student center or gym, so we ought to let them approve whether they want their fellow students to be strapped in Econ 101. As of now, under this bill, private colleges are allowed to opt-out, yet students at public schools do not have the same right of refusal. If Baylor or Rice can opt-out and say 'no guns on campus' then every student at UT, A&M, UH and other public colleges must have that same right."

"I am glad the Senate stood up for students today and hope we will do so again next week if the bill is brought back up for debate."