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The Brief: Sept. 29, 2010

It didn't take long for politics to surface after Tuesday's shooting at the University of Texas.

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THE BIG CONVERSATION:

It didn't take long for politics to surface after Tuesday's shooting at the University of Texas.

The incident, in which a 19-year-old student, wielding an AK-47, fired four shots into the air — hurting no one — before taking his own life on the top floor of the university's main library, quickly revived the debate over concealed carry on university campuses.

In an instance of unfortunate timing, the shooting occurred the same day John Lott, a concealed-weapons laws advocate, was scheduled to speak at the UT School of Law.

"There's a tremendous advantage to having concealed-carry laws, because the shooter doesn't know who has a weapon," said Lott, according to the Austin American-Statesman, noting that the incident only validated his views.

The controversy stems from the 2009 legislative session, when a bill — opposed by Texas' universities — allowing concealed handgun license-holders to carry weapons on campus stalled in the Senate. Led by UT graduate student John Woods, who was a student at Virginia Tech during the 2007 massacre, hundreds of UT students marched to the Capitol to protest the bill. "I think the situation might be a lot more chaotic and a lot more deadly if a number of students had tried to go in and be heroes," Woods told the Tribune's Reeve Hamilton on Tuesday.

State Sen. Dan Patrick, a Houston Republican who co-sponsored the 2009 bill, said he will push the effort again in the next legislative session. "In my view, universities are putting their professors, staff and students at risk by not allowing concealed carry ... as this unfortunate incident demonstrates," Patrick told the Statesman.

The gubernatorial candidates also weighed in on Tuesday, with Rick Perry reaffirming his support for concealed carry and Bill White arguing that each campus should be allowed to take its own approach.

CULLED:

  • Men usually lean Republican, whereas women tend to go for Democrats, so goes the conventional wisdom. But in the governor's race this year, something's up: Women are lining up behind Gov. Rick Perry — and no one's sure why. "You'd think all those stories would make women even less drawn to him. I'm stunned," Sean Theriault, an associate government professor at UT, tells the Austin American-Statesman.
  • The Tribune's Emily Ramshaw has a rundown of the ethics flap engulfing a number of state House candidates, whose ability to keep their seats may come down to the three T's: timing, turnout and tradition.

"It was a tragedy for this campus, but it could have been a whole lot worse." — UT Police Chief Robert Dahlstrom on Tuesday's shooting

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