Dr. Bill Holda, president of Kilgore College in Kilgore, TX, will have to do some fast backpedaling if he’s to have any hope of outrunning his recent comments about the 1991 massacre at a Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, TX—the second deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, surpassed only by the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre. Dr. Holda recently angered both survivors of the shooting and concealed carry advocates by claiming that some of the victims of the massacre (which became a rallying cry for supporters of lawful self-defense) actually shot each other.
Six days after the November 2 elections, Texas State Representative-Elect David Simpson (R-Longview) pre-filed a bill that would allow holders of state-issued concealed handgun licenses to carry concealed handguns on Texas college campuses. This did not sit well with Dr. Holda, who chastised the move as “unfortunate and ill-advised”[i] and criticized Simpson for filing the bill without first consulting him. Holda proclaimed, “What we want is for representatives to file legislation based on a good body of information.”[ii]
As an example of the type of information he believes Simpson failed to consider, Holda pointed to the Luby’s massacre, telling a local TV station, “[During the Luby’s massacre] you had multiple shooters, and innocent people were killed by other people who had concealed, licensed handguns, because they weren’t sure who was the shooter and who was a defender.”[iii]
Holda’s frightening depiction of the 1991 mass shooting suffers from only one flaw: It is a complete and total fabrication that lacks even a hint of truth. The State of Texas did not begin issuing or honoring concealed handgun licenses until 1996, five years afterthe Luby’s massacre. At the time of the shooting, state law made it a serious crime for anyone other than a law enforcement officer to carry a handgun. All of the victims (23 killed, 20 wounded) were shot by the lone gunman himself.
Bill Holda’s grievous misstatement of fact is not sitting well with at least one survivor of the Luby’s massacre. After watching her parents die in the attack, Dr. Suzanna Gratia Hupp became one of America’s leading advocates for the legalization of concealed carry. She testified before Congress and several state legislatures that she very well could have stopped the gunman had she not been required to leave her gun in her car.
Dr. Hupp, a former Texas State Representative and the author of From Luby’s to the Legislature, responded to Holda’s comments by stating, “I’m not sure which is more offensive, the apparent complete fabrication of Dr. Holda’s Luby’s Cafeteria story or the lack of journalistic effort by the reporter to correct his fictional tale.” Addressing Bill Holda directly, Hupp added, “Dr. Holda, the only person who had a gun was the madman slaughtering those around me like fish in a barrel. I defy you to name one place in this country where a mass shooting has occurred despite the people there being allowed to carry concealed handguns for protection. These madmen go where they know they will get a high body count.”
Bill Holda’s statement about the Luby’s massacre is unparalleled in its audacity, but it is not the only time he has stumbled over the facts, in his rush to speak out against the pending “campus carry” bill. Holda recently accused[iv] Texas legislators of hypocritically pushing campus carry legislation while refusing to allow concealed handguns in the House and Senate galleries. In reality, licensed concealed carry is now allowed[v] throughout the Texas Capitol, including in the chamber galleries.
Dr. Holda also described[vi] Simpson’s legislation as an unfunded mandate and suggested that the bill is not in keeping with a fiscally conservative agenda, despite the fact that no provision of the bill places any fiscal demands on colleges or universities. The bill, as written, would simply place colleges and universities under the same rules as churches, movie theaters, shopping malls, office buildings, grocery stores, restaurants, banks, etc.
Dr. Bill Holda is not shy about his belief that he should have been consulted prior to the filing of this bill, yet everything he has said on the subject has been not only wrong but monumentally and offensively wrong. By repeatedly demonstrating his ignorance of the facts, Bill Holda serves as a perpetual rebuttal to his own assertion that college officials, not state legislators, are best equipped to determine whether or not licensed concealed carry should be allowed on Texas college campuses.
W. Scott Lewis, Texas legislative director for Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, lamented, “I can only assume that this is what we have to look forward to from the ivory tower academics who claim to know what’s best for the adults working and studying at state-funded colleges.” Lewis then added, “I can’t imagine that Dr. Holda is anxious to make any more public statements on this issue, but if he is serious about wanting a ‘good body of information,’ or if he just wants another opportunity to stick his foot in his mouth, my organization would welcome the opportunity to hold an open debate on the Kilgore College campus.”
[i] Draper, J. (2008, Nov. 13). “College president balks at freshman representative’s handgun bill.” Kilgore News Herald, p. 1. (http://www.kilgorenewsherald.com/news/2010-11-13/Front_Page/College_president_balks_at_freshman_representative.html)
[iii] Claiborne, C. (Reporter). (2010, Nov. 16). KETK News at Ten [Television broadcast]. Tyler, TX: KETK NBC 56. (http://www.ketknbc.com/news/one-local-college-president-says-no-way-to-campus-guns).
[iv] Draper, J. (2008, Nov. 13). “College president balks at freshman representative’s handgun bill.” Kilgore News Herald, p. 1. (http://www.kilgorenewsherald.com/news/2010-11-13/Front_Page/College_president_balks_at_freshman_representative.html)
[v] Tripp, A. (2010, April 20). “Metal Detectors in the Texas Capitol and CHLs.” Message posted to https://www.tsra.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=240:metal-detectors-in-the-texas-capitol-and-chls&catid=55:tripp-talk&Itemid=113
[vi] Draper, J. (2008, Nov. 13). “College president balks at freshman representative’s handgun bill.” Kilgore News Herald, p. 1. (http://www.kilgorenewsherald.com/news/2010-11-13/Front_Page/College_president_balks_at_freshman_representative.html)