SCC Statement on the Accidental Discharge at Tarleton State University

by Robert Eagar on September 16, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 09/16/2016

CONTACT:

Brian Bensimon, Director for the State of Texas, SCC: brian.bensimon@concealedcampus.org

Michael Newbern, Assistant Director of Public Relations, SCC: michael.newbern@concealedcampus.org

SCC Statement on the Accidental Discharge at Tarleton State University

AUSTIN, TX  – According to a press release from Tarleton State University and reporting by Claire Z. Cardona of The Dallas Morning News, a Tarleton State student and license to carry (LTC) holder accidentally discharged a handgun in a university residence hall on the evening of Wednesday, September 14. This incident reportedly resulted in no injuries and only minimal property damage.

Brian Bensimon, Texas state director for Students for Concealed Carry (SCC), commented:

This incident is unfortunate but in keeping with what we saw in both Colorado and Idaho, each of which experienced a  single negligent discharge within two or three months of their statewide campus carry laws taking effect. For whatever reason, there seems to be a period of adjustment that follows the implementation of these laws. Thankfully, neither Colorado nor Idaho has seen a repeat of these incidents, and the overall track record of campus carry is still very strong. After a combined total of approximately 2,000 semesters of campus carry at almost 200 U.S. college campuses, this is only the fifth resulting accidental discharge, and not one of those incidents resulted in life-threatening injury to the license holder or serious injury to another person.

Without knowing the exact circumstances of the accidental discharge at Tarleton State, SCC cannot address specific contributing factors; however, there is no question that dorm rooms—where licensed residents must occasionally handle their weapons while holstering, unholstering, loading, or unloading them—are at increased risk for negligent discharge. The increased danger that accompanies unholstering and handling a firearm is one of the reasons SCC vigorously fought proposals such as placing gun lockers outside of classrooms and requiring license holders to empty the chambers of their guns before stepping onto campus.

Because of the increased danger associated with handling an unholstered firearm, license holders living in dorm rooms should be diligent to observe the four basic rules of firearm safety when handling their guns.

The Four Basic Rules of Firearm Safety:

  1. Treat every gun as if it is loaded.
  2. Never point a gun at anything you are not WILLING to destroy.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger unless and until the gun is pointed at something you WANT to destroy.
  4. Be certain of the object your gun is pointed at, and be aware of anything that might be BEHIND the object your gun is pointed at and anything that might come BETWEEN your gun and the object it is pointed at.

These four rules offer redundant protections against injury or death. For example, a license holder who violates rule number three and accidentally pulls the trigger is unlikely to cause injury as long as he or she is observing rules one, two, and four.

It is worth noting that, of the four negligent discharges at campus-carry colleges outside of Texas, two were the result of license holders showing their guns to someone else, which is a serious crime under Texas law. The other two were the result of license holders carrying their handguns in a pocket, unholstered, which is prohibited by school policy at most Texas universities.

In contrast to the common perception that inexperienced, immature students pose the greatest threat of negligent discharge, two of the prior incidents involved faculty or staff, and one involved a police cadet.

The Prior Negligent Discharges at Campus-Carry Colleges:

On May 4, 2015, a police cadet at Utah Valley University was showing his handgun to a fellow cadet, on their way to a police firearms class. The gun discharged, grazing the chest of the other cadet.

On September 2, 2014, a professor at Idaho State University was carrying an unholstered handgun in his pants pocket while teaching a class. The handgun discharged, shooting him in the foot.

On November 9, 2012, a staff member at the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine was showing her gun to two coworkers. The gun discharged as she was attempting to reload it. The bullet ricocheted off a filing cabinet and nicked both her and a coworker on their legs.

On January 4, 2012, a student at Weber State University in Utah was carrying an unholstered handgun in his pants pocket while walking across campus. The handgun discharged, shooting him in the leg.

These incidents are unfortunate; however, given the number of college campuses that allow licensed concealed carry and the length of time for which they have allowed it, this is still an impressive record. This record, coupled with the fact that not one campus-carry college has reported a resulting violent crime, threat of violence, suicide, or suicide attempt demonstrates that the licensed, concealed carry of handgun can be safely implemented on college campuses.

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ABOUT STUDENTS FOR CONCEALED CARRY — Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) is a national, non-partisan, grassroots organization comprising college students, faculty, staff, and concerned citizens who believe that holders of state-issued concealed handgun licenses should be allowed the same measure of personal protection on college campuses that current laws afford them virtually everywhere else. SCC is not affiliated with the NRA or any other organization. For more information on SCC, visit ConcealedCampus.org or Facebook.com/ConcealedCampus. For more information on the debate over campus carry in Texas, visit WhyCampusCarry.com.

RELATED:

“A Refresher on the Case for Campus Carry in Texas”: http://concealedcampus.org/2016/05/a-refresher-on-the-case-for-campus-carry-in-texas/

SCC’s Oct. 2, 2015 – Sept. 15, 2016, Texas press releases and op-eds: http://tinyurl.com/scc-feb-aug-releases

SCC’s 2015 Texas legislative handout (includes Dec. 9 – May 22, 2015, press releases and op-eds): http://tinyurl.com/scc-2015-tx-lege-handout

All SCC statements regarding the campus carry policies proposed by UT-Austin: http://tinyurl.com/scc-on-ut-austin

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