Plan II lecturer discusses defensive gun use

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Photo Credit: Jack DuFon | Daily Texan Staff

Plan II lecturer Matt Valentine talked about defensive gun use as part of the Gun-Free UT discussion series on Wednesday at the College of Liberal Arts.

Valentine said articles that give examples about civilians stopping mass shooters are inaccurate. He discussed several cases in an article for Politico magazine, “The Myth of the Good Guy with a Gun.”

“Either they weren’t civilians, or they didn’t stop anything,” Valentine said.

Valentine cited various research studies to explain the way people react when they are around firearms. Researchers have studied the “weapons effect,” which refers to the phenomenon that the presence of a weapon elicits aggressive behavior, since a 1967 study by University of Wisconsin professors Leonard Berkowitz and Anthony LePage.

“If you are already agitated and you see or handle a gun, you are more likely to behave in a hostile or aggressive way,” Valentine said.

Valentine said along with the written exam for a concealed handgun license, applicants must pass a practical test which involves stationary human-size targets that the applicant only has to hit 70 percent of the time. Furthermore, people who have been diagnosed and treated for severe mental illnesses are still eligible for a license as long as they have not been involuntarily institutionalized, according to Valentine.

“I think a lot of people don’t realize a concealed handgun license in Texas is incredibly easy to get and signifies no expertise whatsoever,” Valentine said.

Valentine, a gun owner himself, said he is not interested in taking away other people’s rights but thinks they should be informed as they exercise those rights.

Neuroscience professor Max Snodderly said campus carry has never been sought by faculty but was pushed through by legislators.

“I’m going to be doing more than just attending talks,” Snodderly said. “I’m going to be researching the first amendment issues that are involved with introducing weapons into the classroom.”

Valentine said he hopes the University develops an academic program to study gun violence when implementing campus carry.     

“People should understand the risks associated with gun ownership,” Valentine said.

This story has been updated since its initial publication; a quote has been removed.