Courts & Crime

Univ. of Texas-Austin shooting rekindles gun debate

Almost before it was over, Tuesday's crisis involving a University of Texas at Austin student toting an AK-47 across campus and killing himself reignited the debate on allowing concealed handguns at colleges.

The issue, hotly debated by Texas lawmakers two years ago, was already expected to be introduced again in the 2011 legislative session.

As the news spread Tuesday, Tarrant County GOP Chairwoman Stephanie Klick tweeted: "Too bad for UT students that Conceal Carry on Campus did not pass during the last legislative session."

Klick said Wednesday that she was swamped with responses to her post across Facebook and Twitter, most of which approved of her message.

But for those who oppose it, the rush to push for concealed handguns was frustrating.

UT graduate student John Woods said concealed-carry advocates like Klick were speaking out before the facts from Tuesday's shooting were even clear.

"It doesn't surprise me to see it," said Woods, 26. "The same thing happened at Virginia Tech, but this was not a traditional shooting. This was a troubled student targeting himself in an attention-getting way. We've had five other suicides on the UT campus in the last year, and I don't see how having concealed handguns would have prevented any of these from happening."

Woods was a Virginia Tech student in 2007, when 32 students, including his girlfriend, were killed. He is now the director of the UT chapter of Texas for Gun-Free Schools.

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