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UT Massacre Survivor To Testify Against Guns in School
For the first time in four decades a survivor of the UT Tower Massacre is speaking against guns in school bills.
Claire Wilson James was 18-years-old when sniper Charles Whitman shot her. At the time she was eight months pregnant. Her unborn child was the first fatality and her boyfriend, Tom Eckman the second.
“I didn't feel pain. I just felt this big jolt and tom looked at me and said baby what's wrong and that was the last thing he ever said. I fell and we laid there 90 minutes before anyone could get to us because no one was trained for that,” said Wilson James.
She recounts screaming and other gunfire while being rescued.
“Even when I was being carried off to the ambulance there were shots ringing, but they were not from Whitman but the citizens that were trying to help,” said Wilson James.
She says the other shots were not helping because law enforcement didn’t know Whitman was dead.
“Guns are a pretty lethal thing to be introduced into that mix,” Wilson James said.
Now she is sending a message, no guns in schools.
Right now the Texas legislature is considering two bills, including H.B. 972 which would force colleges and universities to allow concealed handguns in classrooms, and H.B. 1009 would appoint certain non-law-enforcement employees of schools to be school marshals.
Representative George Lavender is co-sponsoring the campus carry bill. He says it would make schools safer.
“If you look at most of the shooting they are in soft targets where you can't defend yourself. I believe it is important for everyone to defend themselves,” said Lavender.
Wilson James will testify Thursday at the Capitol in front of the Public Safety Committee. If the guns in school bills pass through that committee they could go to vote on the floor.
Stay with KEYE TV for updates on the legislation.
By Christie Post