Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Guns And Sausages

Recent events in Austin bring to mind the old Otto von Bismarck saying:
Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.
Specifically, I'm referring to the shenanigans surrounding Texas State Senator Jeff Wentworth's bill enabling Concealed Handgun License (CHL) holders to tote weapons on college campuses.
Sen. Jeff Wentworth is relentless, and today, the San Antonio Republican got his way.

Wentworth finally got his campus carry bill successfully tacked onto legislation — this time a bill by Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, that would reform methods of finance for public and higher education institutions. The measure is turning into a virtual Christmas Tree for amendments.

Wentworth's measure would would allow concealed handgun license holders to carry on university campuses. Wentworth filed his own bill, SB 354, to do so, but he could not secure enough votes to bring the legislation up for debate on the Senate floor. Over the last couple of weeks, he repeatedly tried to tack a similar amendment onto a bill by Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, to eliminate some college reporting requirements and reduce administrative costs. But Zaffirini killed her own bill after Wentworth's amendment passed.

Zaffirini got her own reporting bill tacked onto Ogden's measure today...
There's more at the link, but that's all I've got the stomach for right now. It perturbs me that the legislative process creates an environment that causes one senator - Zaffirini - to scuttle her own bill, and a worthy one at that, in an attempt to halt the passage of another. Why can't our elected buffoons leaders congresscritters just vote on each individual bill, one at a time, and let them pass or fail on their own merits? Why do 'procedural processes' constantly interfere with the passage or defeat of proposed legislation?


For the record, I'm a college professor and a CHL holder. I work within spitting distance from the Texas-Mexico border, at a university that has benefited greatly from Sen. Zaffirini's dedication to higher education. I respect her. I also think, based on first-hand experience, that college reporting requirements and other assorted administrative nonsense addressed in her bill is adding a ridiculous amount of overhead to the cost of a college education, and distracting - no, make that interfering with - the primary mission of a university: delivering high-quality education at a reasonable cost to our students.

Having said that, I see absolutely no reason why CHL holders, who must pass a background check and undergo a training/evaluation course, cannot be trusted to do on a college campus what they do just about everywhere else. The latest DPS statistics provide overwhelming evidence that CHL holders are much, much more law abiding than the general population.

The bill is not about arming  a bunch of drunken frat boys. It's about adding a layer of protection to places that are inviting targets for terrorists or the deranged, by virtue of the fact that the evil-doers are guaranteed a 'target population' that cannot protect itself.

Once you get past the knee-jerk reaction of "guns = bad" why would any thinking person oppose this bill?

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