A Texas legislator whose parents died in a 1991 shooting spree in a cafeteria urged a Kansas Senate committee to endorse a bill that would allow Kansans to carry concealed weapons.
The Federal and State Affairs Committee is reviewing a measure that would require the state to issue concealed carry permits to any Kansan who qualifies and pays a $150 application fee. People would qualify if they were 21 and American citizens, had undergone eight hours of gun training and did not suffer from a mental illness or drug and alcohol addiction.
Texas state Rep. Suzanna Hupp told the committee she wishes she'd had her gun with her when she and her parents dined at a Luby's restaurant in Killeen, Texas, in October 1991. She'd left her gun in her car, something she realized only after a man ran his truck into the building, got out and started shooting.
She said she was not carrying the gun in her purse because she didn't want to break the law and lose her chiropractor's license. She acknowledged that if she had her gun, she might not have hit the assailant but added she would have at least changed the situation. Twenty-three people died, including her parents.
"I'm angry, as you can tell," she said. "I was mad at hell at my legislators, because I felt they had legislated me out of my right to protect myself."
Hupp, a Republican, first won her seat in the Texas House in 1996, having already become a vocal gun rights advocate.
"If you can imagine -- sitting there, like a fish in a barrel, waiting for it to be your turn," she said.
The committee planned to hear from opponents of the bill on Tuesday.
Concealed carry is HB 2798.
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Kansas Legislature: http://www.kslegislature.org