COLLEGE
01/22/2013 06:21 pm ET Updated Jan 22, 2013

Lone Star College Shooting Prompts Second Amendment Student Group Leader To Criticize 'Fascist' Liberals

Steve Sanders, the president of a student gun rights group at Lone Star College in Texas, said he was unaware of reports that a gunman, or gunmen, had shot multiple people at his school on Wednesday, until told by The Huffington Post.

"That's annoying," Sanders said after hearing the news. "What kind of asshole would have done that?"

Sanders is the president of the Second Amendment Academy, a student group that plans shooting events in the area and describes its focus as "educating the general public in regards to the safe and proper use of firearms." He was at home, off campus, when the shooting took place, he said.

"I can't believe it happened at my school," Sanders said. "Lone Star is supposed to be a gun-free zone."

Whether the school allows guns on its property isn't quite clear. From the school website, it seems that the college doesn't prohibit students from carrying concealed handguns on campus.

Sanders said he thought the state had passed a bill allowing "concealed carry on campus," but wasn't sure.

He may have been thinking of a bill proposed by a state senator last week.

In any case, Sanders said, "most people who go there are just kids. They don’t have a CHL" -- a concealed handgun license.

"I have a CHL," Sanders added. "But I never carry on campus. I never really thought about it. I guess I will now."

After processing the news for a few minutes, he spoke about how he got involved with the gun group. "I always wanted to hunt deer, go out in the wilderness, and be a man," Sanders said with a laugh. "I grew up around guns. I think most people are afraid of guns because they don't understand them and they aren't quite comfortable with them. If they had more experience with them, I think the perspective would be different. Accidents do happen, but they are few and far between."

Asked to share his thoughts on the assault weapons bans proposed by the White House and several states, Sanders said, "The reason we should have those kinds of weapons is because the government has those kinds of weapons. I'm not saying we should be flying around in Apache helicopters. But the government is going very left-wing, very socialist, which is pretty scary actually. And that just makes me want to hold on to my firearms even more."

Sanders said he was concerned about the influence of the Democratic Socialists of America, a political group that endorsed Barack Obama in his failed attempt to win a congressional seat in 2000. Sanders said he also feared the federal government may turn the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other agencies into paramilitary forces aimed at cracking down on the rights of citizens.

"If you do a little bit of reading about which way this country is going, yeah, we need to hold onto our firearms," Sanders said. Asked where he got his information, he said that he trusts statistics put out by the FBI. A recent post on the Breitbart blog pointed to FBI data that suggests more people are killed annually with hammers and clubs than with rifles.

Asked why he trusted the FBI numbers, Sanders said, "I'm not there to make the numbers, so I technically don't know, but since they don't make policy, they don't make a profit," he said. When it was pointed out that the FBI takes orders from Obama, Sanders said, "It is true. It is true. I can't argue with that."

Sanders said he owns an AR-15 and an AR-10 -- both assault-style rifles -- and a pistol. He said his group hasn't met recently, but he hopes to hold a meeting soon to discuss the proposed gun-control legislation.

"If they start limiting our guns and grinding away at our rights, it's just going to get worse," Sanders said. "How far is it going to go? If they start doing mental health checks, that's a very sticky area. They'll start saying, 'Well, who in their right minds need a gun?' How far is it going to go? I hate to use Nazi Germany as a -- well I don’t hate to use it, but I don't want to refer to any force in this country as Nazism. Nazism isn't alive in this country, but fascism is."

ALSO ON HUFFPOST:

01/22/2013 7:13 PM EST

End of Liveblog

There will be no more updates to this liveblog. Visit Huffingtonpost.com/college for more.

01/22/2013 6:40 PM EST

Latest News On Texas Shooting

01/22/2013 6:27 PM EST

Gun Rights Student Leader Says He'll Start Carrying

HuffPost's Saki Knafo reports that Steve Sanders, the president of a student gun rights group at Lone Star College in Texas, heard about the shooting from a reporter.

"That's annoying," said Sanders, president of the Second Amendment Academy, a student group that plans shooting events in the area and describes its focus as "educating the general public in regards to the safe and proper use of firearms."

Knafo's article quotes Sanders as saying:

"Most people who go there are just kids. They don’t have a CHL" -- a concealed handgun license.

"I have a CHL," Sanders added. "But I never carry on campus. I never really thought about it. I guess I will now."

Read more here.

01/22/2013 6:01 PM EST

Both Suspects Hospitalized, No Charges Yet

The Harris County Sheriff's office said at press conference Tuesday afternoon the shooting was the result of a dispute between two individuals, at least one being a student, but no charges have been filed yet. The two suspects were injured during their altercation and have been hospitalized, in addition to a maintenance worker who was shot in the crossfire.

Another individual, a woman in her mid-50s, suffered a medical condition and was transported to a hospital.

They have not released any information about the identities of the two suspects.

Richard Carpenter, chancellor of the Lone Star College system, said several emergency alerts were sent to students, but many students told local reporters they did not receive them. Carpenter was not sure why they didn't get the alerts, but the buildings on campus do not have great cell phone reception, a student said.

-- Tyler Kingkade

01/22/2013 5:36 PM EST

Maintenance Worker Shot In The Leg

A maintenance worker was shot in the leg as part of the crossfire in the shooting at Lone Star College in Houston, according to a police spokesman and the college's chancellor.

The worker is in his 50s and is in stable condition at a nearby hospital, said Lone Star College Chancellor Richard Carpenter.

01/22/2013 5:29 PM EST

Chancellor Hopes 'Things Could Be Learned' From Shooting

In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Lone Star College Chancellor Richard Carpenter said he hopes "things could be learned" from the shooting at his campus as the national debate on gun control continues.

01/22/2013 5:22 PM EST

LIVE VIDEO: Sheriff Gives Press Conference

@ BreakingNews :

Sheriff's office: Texas college shooting was altercation between 2 individuals, one a student - @AP; live video: http://t.co/27BBvPEs

01/22/2013 5:16 PM EST

HuffPost/YouGov Poll: More Guns On Campus Would Not Make Colleges Safer

A recent HuffPost/YouGov survey showed Americans are split evenly on the question of whether people with proper permits should be allowed to carry concealed guns on college campuses, with 43 percent for and 43 percent against the idea. The other 14 percent said they were unsure.

While Americans are divided on whether people with permits should be allowed to carry firearms at colleges, only a third think more guns on campus would improve safety. Forty-five percent said banning guns was more likely to keep a campus safer, while 33 percent thought they'd be safer if more students and faculty were packing heat.

A handful of states currently allow guns on campus, and many more allow colleges to make their own decisions, which almost always results in a campus gun ban. Since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, many college presidents have spoken out and called for new gun control measures. One open letter, which has more than 300 signatures from public and private college presidents, specifically voices opposition to state laws that allow guns on campus.

Read more on the polling results here.

-- Tyler Kingkade

01/22/2013 4:51 PM EST

Sheriff To Hold News Conference

The Harris County Sheriff's Office will hold a live news conference at 5:00 EST.

Click here to watch live.

01/22/2013 4:50 PM EST

NRA Has Supported Concealed Carry On College Campuses Across Country

Ever since the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, the National Rifle Association has backed a slew of bills designed to allow concealed handguns on college campuses -– including in Texas, the site of Tuesday's shooting at Lone Star College.

In the past two years, the NRA has supported legislation to allow concealed handguns at public colleges in Texas, Arizona, Idaho, Nevada and Arkansas.

The Texas Senate passed legislation in 2011 that would have allowed licensed carriers of concealed handguns to bring weapons onto public college campuses. But the law was never enacted because the House failed to bring it to a vote.

Republican State Sen. Brian Birdwell revived the debate last week, introducing legislation that would allow concealed carry on public college campuses.

The NRA’s Texas affiliate strongly supports the legislation, according to a press release announcing the bill:

The TSRA—the state-affiliate of the NRA—and our 45,000 Texas members strongly support Senator Birdwell and his legislation allowing adult Texas concealed handgun licensees to have this option for personal protection with them in their vehicles, on campus property, and in the classroom. Personal protection is a basic human right.

Arizona lawmakers defeated a similar push for concealed handguns on college campuses last year, after strong opposition from university officials.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 21 states have bans on carrying a concealed weapon on college campuses, while 23 others leave the decision to each individual college or university.

State law allows concealed weapons at public college campuses in five states: Colorado, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin.

-- Chris Kirkham

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