Former state Rep. Suzanna Gratia Hupp said to about 50 students Tuesday that she was not mad at the man who shot her parents and 22 others during the 1991 Luby’s massacre in Killeen.
“I was mad as hell at my legislators,” Hupp said.
In October 1991, gunman George Hennard drove through a Luby’s window in his truck and opened fire, killing 24 before taking his own life. Hupp said she believed she could have prevented Hennard from killing as many people if the law had allowed her to be armed. Hupp became a legislator in 1996 and worked for 10 years to pass bills that would allow Texans to legally carry a concealed weapon.
The Libertarian Longhorns invited her to speak at UT about the Second Amendment, specifically concealed carry on campus.
“Her story’s an unfortunate one,” said organization President Andy Fernandez. “But she’s a great speaker and an excellent advocate for self defense.”
Fernandez said the group organized the event as a follow-up to last semester’s speech by John Lott, University of Maryland at College Park economist and author of “More Guns, Less Crime,” Lott gave his speech after the Sept. 28 incident, when former UT mathematics sophomore Colton Tooley fired several rounds from his AK-47 before taking his own life. While the group moved the speaker off-campus to respect the feelings of those affected by the incident, Fernandez said the subject matter was important enough to not cancel.
Jeff Shi, Students For Concealed Carry on Campus president, said allowing concealed carry on campus would make him feel safer.
“You certainly may feel safer in a gun-free zone,” Shi said, “But the reality is that disarming innocent people does not protect innocent people.”
Texas legislators proposed several bills this session that would require universities to allow concealed carry on campus, which could alter current policies.
“‘Gun Free Zone’ laws do not work,” Shi said, “That is an uncomfortable truth leaders of the opposition refuse to admit.”
Shi said he was disappointed Students for Gun-Free Schools, the opposing campus organization, did not express any interest in attending the event.
John Woods, the gun-free organization’s executive director, said the current policy is working, but the current problem is suicides, not violent crimes. He said proposed legislation would not substantially affect the crime rate because rates are already low.
“Her story relates to a private business,” Woods said. “I don’t see what that has to do with campus. I think others will have a hard time seeing the connection.”
Woods said he wonders if the event was planned to coincide with his organization’s planned programming this week, including the presentation of a film, a panel of law enforcement officers and a lobbying day.
“The radical wing of one party is controlling dialogue for the whole state,” he said. “It’s very frustrating.”