Tomorrow, Dr. Bill Holda will testify before the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee at the Texas House of Representatives.
With his permission, what follows is what he intends to say. This is pasted verbatim from his notes, which he has provided to me. The formatting has possibly suffered somewhat in translation, but the text is exact:
Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee
Texas House of Representatives
March 16, 2011
- Representing the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC) as Chair-elect
- Serve as President of Kilgore College
- Newly licensed (mailed Friday, received today) CHL
- Earlier this year, the membership overwhelmingly voted to recommend to the Legislature to preserve the concept of local control by allowing the locally-elected Boards of Trustees to establish the policy for their institutions which best fit their unique situations – some have Early College High Schools, day care facilities, etc. on their campuses.
- The TACC membership conveyed concerns of their campus law enforcement agencies regarding the mix of guns and students in a college environment.
- The TACC membership echoed the concerns of mental health professionals who cite that suicide is the second-highest leading cause of college student fatalities and the relationship of handguns to that dynamic. (National Center for Health Statistics, http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/vitalstats.htm)
- Residence Halls (1) – CHL students should be responsible for securing their own handguns; eliminate language which implies that the institution will be responsible for securing the handguns; (2) allow institutions to require residential CHL students to self-identify, so that institutions may assign the CHL student to a room with a secured floor or wall safe and so that roommates can be notified, in the event they want to request a room change.
- Clarify the potential conflicts with Early College High Schools and intact groups of dual credit students on college campuses. For example, Richland College (DCCCD) has an Early College High School on its campus and the college president also serves as the superintendent of the high school. Anticipate the conflicts between the public school gun-free zones which overlap with college campuses.
- Since CHL carriers are well aware of the implications regarding the privilege to carry, why create inconsistencies as it relates to sporting events, places where alcohol may be present (part of a college culture), exemptions for private and independent colleges, individual businesses which post Section 30.06, school parking lots, etc? If we, as CHL persons know the law and are responsible, why have any gun-free zones?
- Some of the versions prohibit out-of-state CHL on college campuses. With regular college students and families coming from Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and New Mexico, what are the reasons for this restriction and how manageable will they be?
- In other words, if we are going to have a state-wide policy regarding concealed carry, why not clean up the various exceptions and make the policy clean, clear and free of many exceptions?
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In a separate email, Dr. Holda stated that he intends to also make the following point. Dr. Holda is speaking:
What is not in my comments, but that I am going to say: “There is no statistical data which unequivocally proves that campuses have been safer with CHL, there is also not statistical data to support the allegations that colleges have had less safety with CHL. Point being: in the dramatic instance of a Virginia Tech or a Columbine, you will be safer with CHL.”
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I disagree with the TACC position, which recommends the local control of the decision of whether to allow concealed carry on local campuses. I realize that, as he is representing TACC, Dr. Holda has to present their declared position. I have conveyed to him personally my view that the law should be homogenous for the entire state of Texas, and he has not personally disagreed with me on this point. I have also pointed out to him that where it has been tried in other states, campus carry has (so far as I am aware) had zero incidents with gun safety.
In his Questions / Pleas section, every issue he raises is a valid problem that has to be addressed if the bills pass. I have suggested to Dr. Holda that the self-identification issue can be handled by simply privately asking two questions to every dorm student: “Do you have a CHL?” and “Would you object to rooming with someone who has a CHL?” Then, the school could assign rooms with this knowledge in mind, solving the preference problem of some students without giving away who has a CHL. Since the questions would be posed to every dorm student, anonymity of the CHL holders would be preserved.
Also in that section, Dr. Holda makes the case to eliminate ALL gun free zones. I am wildly enthusiastic about this possibility, and I appreciate him bringing it up. I personally believe that if the government trusts me in WalMart, why don’t they trust me in, say, the courthouse? It never has made sense to me, although I strictly abide by the law anyhow.
All in all, I am very pleased with the positions Dr. Holda is taking, and I appreciate that he is trying to arrive at manageable laws. My thanks to Dr. Holda, who has done an extraordinary thing, crossing in to our world and learning the reality of the shooting sports for himself. In the process, he has become a friend. I should also mention that his wife Scotti deserves kudos for her support in this undertaking.
Cross reference to earlier post regarding how I met Dr. Holda.
So, what do you folks think?