Pro: When used responsibly, guns save lives
June 5, 2011 at 1:05 a.m.
Updated June 6, 2011 at 1:06 a.m.
Mike Hessong understands the fear of campus shootings - his niece was on the Virginia Tech campus in 2007 when 32 students were shot to death by a gun-wielding student.
Still, that shooting, as well as other school shootings like at Columbine High School in 1999, has not deterred Hessong from wanting legislation to allow concealed handgun license holders to carry guns onto Texas colleges and universities.
"It's not the gun that kills the people, it's the people that pull the trigger," he said. "If you have a license, it may eliminate some of these shootings."
Hessong's niece even knew some of those killed in the shooting spree.
Hessong works public relations for the Victoria Skeet and Trap Club, a gun hobbyist club.
Members target practice by shooting clay birds with a shotgun.
The Victoria 4-H also teaches its young members to handle firearms.
Gun safety and responsibility are strongly stressed, Hessong said.
"You think that everyone just gets (a license,)" he said. "They don't."
Becoming a concealed handgun license holder is a strenuous process, Hessong said.
In 2010, the Texas Department of Public Safety issued 102,133 licenses and denied 530 requests, according to the DPS web site.
Last year in Victoria, 340 licenses were issued and three were denied.
Hessong does not have a license.
Applying for a license takes time and requires a lengthy background check.
The positive aspects of guns is often overshadowed by one person's crime and, quickly, people want to outlaw firearms.
"When someone crashes a car into a crowd of people, we don't want to outlaw cars," Hessong said.
Tommy Barker, the head range officer for the skeet and trap club, agreed with Hessong and the legislation.
"I think it has nothing to do with the student body," he said. "There is no reason they can't carry their guns, so as long as they are carrying them under the law."