SAN MARCOS, Texas (AP) - Mike Guzman and thousands of other students say the best way to prevent campus bloodshed is more guns.
Guzman, an economics major at Texas State University-San Marcos, is among 8,000 students nationwide who have joined the nonpartisan Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, arguing that students and faculty already licensed to carry concealed weapons should be allowed to pack heat along with their textbooks.
"It's the basic right of self defense," said Guzman, a 23-year-old former Marine. "Here on campus, we don't have that right, that right of self defense."
W. Gerald Massengill, the chairman of the independent panel that investigated the Virginia Tech shootings, said those concerns outweigh the argument that gun-carrying students could have reduced the number of fatalities inflicted by someone like Tech gunman Seung-Hui Cho.
"I'm a strong supporter of the Second Amendment," said Massengill, a former head of the Virginia state police. "But our society has changed, and there are some environments where common sense tells us that it's just not a good idea to have guns available."
His view is echoed by Peter Hamm, a spokesman for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, who says campus safety concerns cannot be addressed by adding more guns to campuses.
"If there's more we need to do, we certainly need to do that, but introducing random access to firearms is not the solution," said Hamm. "You have more victims, not fewer victims."