FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 08/08/2016
Brian Bensimon, Director for the State of Texas, SCC: firstname.lastname@example.org
Allison Peregory, Texas Legislative Director: email@example.com
Michael Newbern, Assistant Director of Public Relations, SCC: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tamron Hall Misses the Point on Campus Carry
AUSTIN, TX – Guns on Campus: Tamron Hall Investigates misrepresents both the arguments behind the passage of Texas’ campus carry law and the talking points utilized by the nation’s largest campus carry advocacy group, Students for Concealed Carry. The one-hour special, which aired August 7 on Investigation Discovery, misleadingly suggests that campus carry is pitched as “the answer to keeping students safe.”
In the program devoted to answering the question “Do concealed weapons have a place on a college campus?” NBC/MSNBC correspondent Tamron Hall claims that campus carry advocates argue that licensed concealed carry should be permitted because licensed students could help police stop a mass shooter. This assertion is made despite the fact that not one of the proponents interviewed or shown in footage from legislative hearings is seen to make such a claim. Instead, proponents are shown reiterating the same argument Students for Concealed Carry, the nation’s largest college-based campus carry advocacy group, makes in every public statement it releases: Campus concealed carry is about ensuring that licensed individuals can practice the same measure of self-defense on campus as they can off campus.
“It’s no surprise to me that Ms. Hall got it wrong,” says Allison Peregory, SCC Texas legislative director. “She never personally spoke to me or any of our members. Instead, a producer was sent out to grab sound bites.”
The show featured short sound bites from Peregory and Jacob Williamson, a former SCC UT-Austin campus leader who was tracked down by the producers after they weren’t satisfied with the spokespeople SCC provided. Campus carry opponents received top billing, including personal interviews with Hall and the opportunity to express their views at length. Newbern says this disparity exists despite the fact that several members of the group’s national board and Texas team offered to make themselves available by phone, remote, or in person.
Throughout the special, Hall and her surrogates fail to challenge several factually inaccurate statements made by opponents, such as the assertion that the effective date of Texas’s campus carry law was deliberately chosen to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the UT-Austin tower shooting and the assertion that American soldiers typically fire hundreds of thousands of rounds in training. Despite making time for these misstatements, the show doesn’t make time for a single talking point used by SCC or its allies in the Texas Legislature.
Despite the fact that SCC doesn’t advocate students acting as amateur security guards to try to stop a mass shooting, the show does highlight how armed citizens can help stop a mass shooting or, at the very least, minimize loss of life. Alan Crum, a civilian who joined police in stopping the Texas Tower Sniper on August 1, 1966, is discussed at length. However, the special suggests that his actions—which were not a talking point behind the passage of Texas Senate Bill 11 and are not a talking point used by SCC—were one of the main arguments behind the passage of the Texas law. The much more likely scenario of an armed citizen inadvertently helping others by acting to help himself—as seen when Nick Meli took up a defensive position during the Clackamas Mall Shooting (Portland, Ore.) and deterred the shooter from proceeding toward him and other potential victims—is never discussed.
“In fact, we’ve seen several instances where a potential victim has possibly reduced the carnage or stopped a shooting from becoming the type of mass-casualty scenario Colin Goddard endured,” says Mike Newbern, SCC’s Assistant Director of Public Relations.
Near the end of the special, Goddard, a survivor of the Virginia Tech shooting and a senior policy advocate for Everytown for Gun Safety, describes the ordeal and how he was shot multiple times during the perpetrator’s 10- to 12-minute rampage. Newbern contends, “Based on the fact that Colin had time to call 911 before he was shot, it’s reasonable to believe that a trained, licensed students in possession of a concealed handgun could’ve drawn that firearm and defended himself. Colin may be telling the truth that he personally could not have used a handgun in that scenario, but it’s just not intellectually honest to say that nobody could have.”
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.