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."