PBS Produces Anti-Campus Carry Propaganda to Accompany ‘Tower’ Documentary

Guns On Campus Univeristy of Texas
PBS Produces Anti-Campus Carry Propaganda to Accompany ‘Tower' Documentary
Students for Concealed Carry on Campus
Students for Concealed Carry on Campus

AUSTIN, TEXAS –-(Ammoland.com)- If you were producing a short documentary about Texas' campus carry law, wouldn’t you want the input of the student-led organization that started the campus carry movement, solicited the support of both the National Rifle Association and its state affiliates, and popularized the phrase “campus carry”?

This apparently wasn't a priority for PBS when it produced the short documentary “Guns on Campus” to accompany the network's upcoming broadcast of “Tower,” the award-winning feature-length documentary about the 1966 sniper attack at the University of Texas at Austin.

Producer/director Joanne Elgart Jennings waited until she was at the airport, on her way to Texas, before reaching out to the Texas chapter of Students for Concealed Carry. SCC Southwest Regional Director Brian Bensimon was eager to speak to Jennings about his organization's positions and activism, but Jennings refused to interview Bensimon for the documentary unless he agreed to let her film him showing off a gun in his apartment. Bensimon explained that SCC has a strict policy against representatives displaying their handguns to the media, but Jennings refused to budge, and SCC was excluded from PBS's documentary about the issue SCC created.

Now PBS is promoting a campus carry documentary that, despite offering brief clips of a couple of campus carry supporters, offers no insight into either the campus carry movement or the arguments that got a campus carry law passed in the Lone Star State.

The documentary does, however, include an interview with one of the leaders of UT-Austin's anti-campus carry movement.

Anti Gun English Professor Lisa Moore
Anti Gun English Professor Lisa Moore : At no point during the documentary does this professor mention that she is one of three professors who filed suit a full month before the law took effect, seeking to block it.

The documentary ( https://youtu.be/yvrWnWjCM9s ) also includes an interview with a UT-Austin professor who—in stark contrast to most media reports—claims that campus carry “makes it really hard for [professors] to do [their] job as instructors” because it has “introduced a level of tension, or wariness, into the classroom setting.

At no point during the documentary does this professor mention that she is one of three professors who filed suit a full month before the law took effect, seeking to block it.

This five-minute hit piece by PBS also includes a short interview with Ramiro Martinez, a retired Austin police officer who was one of two officers who shot and killed the perpetrator of the 1966 University of Texas sniper attack. The piece includes a clip of Martinez speculating about how dangerous it would have been if, during the 96-minute shooting spree, he had encountered an armed citizen who was also looking for the shooter—something license to carry holders are trained not to do.

Joanne Elgart Jennings
Joanne Elgart Jennings : Given Ms. Jennings' fundamental misunderstandings of the issue, I thought SCC would have a lot to contribute to her project. But when I returned her call, she was only interested in finding somebody to add controversy or sex appeal or whatever she thought showing a student with a gun added to her film.

The piece neglects to mention that Martinez retired from law enforcement five years before Texas' concealed carry law took effect and that he has no experience as a law enforcement officer in a state where the licensed, concealed carry of handguns is allowed. It also neglects to mention that Martinez's 2005 autobiography states;

“I was and am still upset that more recognition has not been given to the citizens who pulled out their hunting rifles and returned the sniper's fire. The City of Austin and the State of Texas should be forever thankful and grateful to them because of the many lives they saved that day.”

Michael Newbern, assistant director of public relations for SCC, commented, “How does someone produce a documentary on Texas' campus carry law and not involve the group responsible for virtually every pro-campus carry op-ed published in Texas during the past decade? How do they not include the one group that ran a TV commercial supporting passage of the campus carry bill? It's as if the film's producers had no interest in the individuals and arguments that got the law passed in the first place.”

Bensimon, the SCC director who took the call from the documentary's producer/director, explained his feelings on the matter:

When Ms. Jennings called, she left a voice mail stating that she was doing a story about “open carry on the UT campus” and that she planned on filming an “open carry class” and wanted to talk to “gun owners who can make the case that civilians who are trained and armed can assist law enforcement.”

The fact that she referenced gun owners rather than to license to carry holders gave me pause. There is a big difference between someone who simply buys a gun and someone who goes through the training, testing, and vetting required to obtain a Texas license to carry.

Also, the fact that she clearly didn't understand the difference between open carry, which remains illegal on Texas college campuses, and concealed carry, which is what the Texas Legislature voted to allow on college campuses, made me think she hadn't done much homework before embarking on her trip to Texas.

I was further concerned by the fact that she wanted someone to defend the argument that gun owners can “assist law enforcement ,” which was not one of the arguments behind the passage of Texas' campus carry law—a law that is about personal protection, not campus protection, that is about allowing licensed individuals on campus their usual means of self-defense, not about creating amateur security guards.

Given Ms. Jennings' fundamental misunderstandings of the issue, I thought SCC would have a lot to contribute to her project. But when I returned her call, she was only interested in finding somebody to add controversy or sex appeal or whatever she thought showing a student with a gun added to her film.

ABOUT STUDENTS FOR CONCEALED CARRY — Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) is a national, non-partisan, grassroots organization comprising college students, faculty, staff, and concerned citizens who believe that holders of state-issued concealed handgun licenses should be allowed the same measure of personal protection on college campuses that current laws afford them virtually everywhere else. SCC is not affiliated with the NRA or any other organization. For more information on SCC, visit ConcealedCampus.org or Facebook.com/ConcealedCampus. For more information on the debate over campus carry in Texas, visit WhyCampusCarry.com.

  • 20 thoughts on “PBS Produces Anti-Campus Carry Propaganda to Accompany ‘Tower’ Documentary

    1. @ Gail Question: Do you have an air-bag in your car, do you plan to use it? Air-bags have been proven to kill people. Yes the fake news media began screaming the somalian had used a gun before they had any facts.

    2. F you if you don’t print my comment. I filled out all required fields. I just don’t agree with anything you say.

      1. Hmm.. a little not too well hidden anger and aggression there, I see.
        Perhaps your opposition to the concept of armed citizens is that you project your own instability and aggression.

        Not everyone else has those issues.

      2. All posts are reviewed first, and take awhile for them to appear. As you can see, your original post is here. One of the reasons for this website is to educate people about gun rights. You should take some time and peruse this website. It has a lot of valuable information on gun rights.

        I have found that when one becomes educated about guns, gun safety, and gun rights, one begins to understand and agrees with the right to carry and other gun rights. I have also found that those that live in fear of guns are controlled by their emotions and do not have knowledge of guns, gun safety, and gun rights.

        It will be better to have a rational debate with someone that has knowledge of the issues and not just spouting an emotional aversion to self-defense.

      3. @Gail Question: Do you have an air-bag in your car? Do you plan to use it? Air-bags have been proven to kill people. Yes the fake news media began screaming the somalian had used a gun before they had any facts.

    3. It seemed to last forever, the killing. It was on tv in Ohio – at least part of it. Kids being killed by some idiot with guns. There was shock among everyone witnessing it. Disbelief. So much sadness. And now? Promoting campus-carry? Acting so passe about killings? Thinking you’ll be safe with a weapon? Thinking you’ll be a big hero? Thinking you might not end up being killed by another delusional and well-armed person? YOU are delusional.

      1. YES, promoting campus carry… the same kind of carry fifteen million Americans do every day. The bank, the library, parks, Costco, Starbux, Home Depot, a concert, church, a picnic in the park with my family, ridoung our bicycles, driving our cars…. shopping downtown, eating dinner in a restaurant, and YOU WILL NEVER KNOW.
        Every year, somewhere around one to two and a half million times, normal every day folks use their guns to stop vilnent crimes… this per federal statistics. In most of those incidents the gun is never fired.

        Roughly one in ten adult residents are able to carry concealed, and most of those do

        And you are never aware of it

      2. In all the gun safety and self-defense training I have taken or read about in classrooms, magazines, and websites, etc., no one is told to “be a hero” – that is not part of the training. One carries as a last resort, hoping to never need it. Thankfully that is usually the case; one is very unlikely to be a victim of a crime, and even more unlikely to be the victim of a violent crime. The delusion you have is believing that you will never be a victim of a crime, and hopefully that will be true, something we all wish to be true.

        However, as we read the news, we find that people do get their homes burgled, cars broken into and stolen, and their homes burned. There are also news reports of people being robbed, stabbed, raped, and all sorts of other violent crimes occurring to them. Wouldn’t a prudent person want to avoid those situations and if it did occur, have a means to ameliorate them? That is why we lock our doors, secure our vehicles, and have fire extinguishers. Some of us that are able and allowed, also carry various types of self-defense tools, such as pepper spray, stun guns, knives, flashlights, and some people even carry handguns. Some of those people even carry more than one of those tools.

        One of the important tenets of self-defense is situational awareness. That helps keep one from getting into a bad situation by seeing it before it might turn sour by fleeing the scene when possible. The last thing anyone wants to do is get into a confrontation, and even less so, use a weapon, including a firearm. During any conflict the chance of being injured or killed increases, it is far better to not be there to begin with. Additionally, if one harms another, even in a justified self-defense, one is still likely to need an attorney and there is also the possibility of being sued by the assailant or his/her heirs, which will also cost time and money to defend against.

        Unfortunately, as crime stats show, not everyone is able to avoid those situations. It is better to be defenseless or have a potential means of defending oneself?

      3. @Gail Ohio? Wasn’t that a young Somali person with a car and a knife, shouting Alah Akbar, that was ultimately shot by a campus policemen?

    4. During the shooting at the U. of Texas Tower, none of the Austin P.D. officers had sufficient fire power to fire back at Charles Whitman. Only the students living in the dorms who were deer hunters, had their deer rifles with the reach to fire back him. I believe that it was this incident that led to the development of mass shooting contingency plans and special reaction teams like SWAT. However, people like Joanne Jennings, will use any device, any prop, to further their anti-gun agenda.

    5. This is where we on the conservative have lost many battles. Mainstream media (if PBS is still mainstream) continually promotes a socialist agenda of let the government take care of all things and there will be peace among man. We do not counter this trash in any effective manner. It feels as if the illegals have more support than us 2A conservatives. I know we dont protest like the left does, we dont burn businesses, but we also dont come together to at least balance out these competing viewpoints. I dont know what the answer is but I will know it when I see it

    6. As I recall the Texas Tower shooting, a private citizen carried a shotgun up the elevator leading several police officers.
      “This five-minute hit piece by PBS also includes a short interview with Ramiro Martinez, a retired Austin police officer who was one of two officers who shot and killed the perpetrator of the 1966 University of Texas sniper attack. The piece includes a clip of Martinez speculating about how dangerous it would have been if, during the 96-minute shooting spree, he had encountered an armed citizen who was also looking for the shooter—something license to carry holders are trained not to do.”

    7. Dear editors,

      I’m writing to respond to the inaccurate characterization by Students For Concealed Carry regarding my efforts to interview a member of their organization.

      First, I want to provide a link to the actual video, since that was not included in the blog and I think it’s best for people to have source material so they can determine their own viewpoints:

      I tried to reach out to get a representative to interview, and the one person who I got on the telephone, hung up on me mid-conversation. After he explained his perspective on campus carry, which I would have gladly had him explain on camera, I asked what any TV producer would ask; What video can we shoot to associate you with the story? Since the topic is campus carry, it seemed appropriate to show him with his gun. When he declined, I asked if he did any canvassing on campus as many student groups do. It was somewhere at that point that he hung up on me. Right after he hung up with me, I walked inside Central Texas Gun Works and interviewed owner Michael Cargill, who was featured prominently in our video. Additionally, Nick Roland, a PhD student at UT, an army veteran and a survivor of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, talked with us on camera. After providing a persuasive and articulate case for why he advocates for campus carry, he demonstrated how he safely conceals his handgun when he’s on campus. When producing a video, rather than an audio story or a print article, one needs video scenes to help tell the story. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to get every relevant fact into a five minute segment, but we certainly strive for accuracy and balance. I would encourage people to watch the video and judge for themselves, but here is a partial transcript of a few things Mr. Roland said on camera after a news clip about the 2008 Virginia Tech shooting ran:

      ” I was a senior that year when it happened. It was hard because I really loved Virginia Tech. I think it’s a really special campus and community. It was shocking, traumatic. It felt like somebody had attacked my family. Had someone in one of those classrooms been armed, I think it would have made a difference certainly. I think that people do deserve to have a fighting chance and the concealed carry gives them another option for self-defense in that type of situation.”

      “The reality is there are vastly more guns in this country than there are people. We’re awash in guns. My solution to that is not to disarm the people that aren’t committing acts of violence. It’s to give them a chance to defend themselves.”

      Thank you.
      Joanne Jennings

      1. I feel that it was unwise for both the CC holder and you to show how he carries cc at the school. That is the whole point of cc, that no one else knows. I also believe that professor and student’s argument for why they are against cc is disingenuous. How can there be tension over someone carrying, if you have no idea if someone is carrying or not? Just because one is allowed, does not mean he/she is cc. If someone is that afraid of the unknown, how does that person function daily? Off campus, the same issue would apply.

        All cc classes and Internet information on cc , that I have taken or read, all explain that the cc holder is allowed to defend with lethal force only when confronted with the possibility of great bodily harm or death.

        The inordinate fear of the possibility of a law-abiding citizen that might or might not have a concealed handgun at school or elsewhere is, in my opinion, borderline psychotic. I would have more concern about that person. People who are that easily scared are more likely to react in a negative manner, since he/she is in a heightened emotional state, rather than rational state of mind.

      2. Joanne Jennings, having done a little bit of research and reporting into various topics, I am surprised that, long before you hopped on that plane for Texas, you did not attempt to contact the folks at Campus Carry, and get them on board with your project. Since it were they who largely brought this law into effect, normal thinking would dictate they are a key player, and thus ought to have a more significant role in YOUR project. To wait until you were on the ground in Texas to even broach the project is lazy reporting. Did you even listen to him as he explained WHY he was not able to pose with any of his firearms? How about working with him for some alternate solution? You want “eye candy” for the vid piece. You had some scenes in a gun store, it seems… why not bring HIM there, too, and perhaps have him and the store owner do some “show and tell” in the neutral environment there? You now have your “eye candy”, the Campus Carry guy has preserved the integrity of his pledge to the organisation, more human interest with the interaction between the campus carry guy and the gun store owner and yourself.. ALLOWING them to educate your viewers.

        As to the “prof” who’s nervous sensitivities went into hyperdrive at the mere thought some student might come in to her classroom some day armed, and she did not know it. what a snowflake!!!! If you were a truly neutral reporter, WHY did you not probe the foundations of her paranioa more deeply? I’ve carried on sampus and in the classroom at university before…. thousands of other students all about, NOT ONE EVER KNEW. Precisely my goal. And we HAD had recent incidents of rapes, muggings, car prowls and thefts. Parts of that campus are VERY rural, even wild natural deep woods, and plenty of places for miscreants to lurk and from which to prey… which HAS happened, right there.

        Your piece entirely misses the ROOT ISSUE raised in this controversy. Perhaps in your journalism school they only taught you how to prove your predetermined point. Sad.. they’ve stolen from you. Fair, openm, balanced, will ALWAYS get you further down the road. Remember, the entire Fast and Furious (illegal government gun runing to Mexican drig cartels under the recently terminated kinyun regime) story was revealed by just a couple of guys who wanted to learn the truth. The “backstory” was compeltely “other” (government rtying to expose and end illegal gun running “for our security”) The truth was discovered because they asked QUESTIONS, PROBED, then shut up and listened.

        Or did PBS (with MY tax dollars fueling it) hire you do play political propagandist? Propaganda does NOT promote iberty, justice, peace. Truth does. Every time.

        1. Thank you for articulating your viewpoint so clearly. In response to your question, I was assigned the story three days before hopping on the plane. In addition to editorial research, there was much technical and administrative work to do in advance. Of course I wanted to speak with students who advocate for concealed carry on campus. I did immediately send several messages via social media, but did not receive any responses. The night before the flight, another advocate for campus carry suggested I talk with Brian and gave me his contact info. I was genuinely excited to get his viewpoint. It is my practice to provide as much balance as possible when approaching any story. It’s true that I misspoke at the early research stage and accidentally conflated concealed and open carry, but the video makes very clear that only concealed carry is allowed on campus – and it involves training and a license. I am human, like you, and I did the best I could on a very tight schedule while juggling my responsibilities as a parent. Other 2a advocates have thanked me for providing what they described as one of the most balanced pieces they’d seen on the topic. I’m sorry you don’t agree, but I’m glad you are able to articulate your views.

      3. For the record, SCC’s representative politely ended the telephone conversation with Ms. Jennings after ten minutes of her unrelenting insistence that he show a gun in his apartment. However, you don’t have to take SCC’s word on this to see that this documentary is biased.

        The portion of this documentary dedicated to supporters of campus carry is almost entirely B-roll of them carrying or shooting guns and narrating what they’re doing (e.g., “I get up, eat breakfast; the only difference is that I put a gun in my bag before I go to campus”). The portion dedicated to opponents is almost entirely footage or audio of them making arguments against campus carry. The documentary contains more than three times as many arguments against campus carry as in support of campus carry.

        The documentary includes just two pro-campus carry arguments, one of which an opponent of campus carry is allowed to respond to and the other of which is prefaced by a factually inaccurate statement:

        1. Campus carry might have given the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre a fighting chance (the vice president of Students Against Campus Carry is allowed to respond to this argument).
        2. This country contains far more guns than people (this is factually inaccurate); therefore, it’s counterproductive to try to disarm the law-abiding citizens who might otherwise be able to defend themselves.

        The documentary contains seven anti-campus carry arguments, none of which supporters of campus carry are allowed to respond to:

        1. Campus carry impedes freedom of speech.
        2. The campus carry law makes it difficult for professors to do their jobs.
        3. Campus carry has introduced a level of tension and wariness into the classroom setting.
        4. Campus carry causes everybody to live in fear.
        5. College students are too young and immature to carry guns.
        6. Police can’t tell the good guys from the bad guys.
        7. Policing should be left to the police.

        The producers of this documentary made an effort to show people carrying and shooting guns but no effort to get the input of the experts on the pro-campus carry side of the debate. Having a handgun instructor explain the new law and speaking briefly with one license to carry holder who touches on why he personally supports campus carry doesn’t counterbalance interviewing an anti-campus carry activist, a professor, and a retired police officer, all three of whom make detailed arguments against campus carry.

      4. For the record, SCC’s representative politely ended the telephone conversation with Ms. Jennings after ten minutes of her unrelenting insistence that he show a gun in his apartment. However, you don’t have to take SCC’s word on this to see that the documentary is biased.

        The portion of the documentary dedicated to supporters of campus carry is almost entirely B-roll of them carrying or shooting guns and narrating what they’re doing (e.g., “I get up, eat breakfast; the only difference is that I put a gun in my bag before I go to campus”). The portion dedicated to opponents is almost entirely footage or audio of them making arguments against campus carry. The documentary contains more than three times as many arguments against campus carry as in support of campus carry.

        The documentary includes just two pro-campus carry arguments, one of which an opponent of campus carry is allowed to respond to and the other of which is prefaced by a factually inaccurate statement:

        1. Campus carry might have given the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre a fighting chance (the vice president of Students Against Campus Carry is allowed to respond to this argument).
        2. This country contains far more guns than people (this is factually inaccurate); therefore, it’s counterproductive to try to disarm the law-abiding citizens who might otherwise be able to defend themselves.

        The documentary contains seven anti-campus carry arguments, none of which supporters of campus carry are allowed to respond to:

        1. Campus carry impedes freedom of speech.
        2. The campus carry law makes it difficult for professors to do their jobs.
        3. Campus carry has introduced a level of tension and wariness into the classroom setting.
        4. Campus carry causes everybody to live in fear.
        5. College students are too young and immature to carry guns.
        6. Police can’t tell the good guys from the bad guys.
        7. Policing should be left to the police.

        The producers of this documentary made an effort to show people carrying and shooting guns but no effort to get the input of the experts on the pro-campus carry side of the debate. Having a handgun instructor explain the new law and speaking briefly with one license to carry holder who touches on why he personally supports campus carry doesn’t counterbalance interviewing an anti-campus carry activist, a professor, and a retired police officer, all three of whom make detailed arguments against campus carry.

      5. For the record, SCC’s representative politely ended the telephone conversation with Ms. Jennings after ten minutes of her unrelenting insistence that he show a gun in his apartment. However, you don’t have to take SCC’s word on this to see that the documentary is biased.

        The portion of the documentary dedicated to supporters of campus carry is almost entirely B-roll of them carrying or shooting guns and narrating what they’re doing (e.g., “I get up, eat breakfast; the only difference is that I put a gun in my bag before I go to campus”). The portion dedicated to opponents is almost entirely footage or audio of them making arguments against campus carry. The documentary contains more than three times as many arguments against campus carry as in support of campus carry.

        The documentary includes just two pro-campus carry arguments, one of which an opponent of campus carry is allowed to respond to and the other of which is prefaced by a factually inaccurate statement:

        1. Campus carry might have given the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre a fighting chance (the vice president of Students Against Campus Carry is allowed to respond to this argument).
        2. This country contains far more guns than people (this is factually inaccurate); therefore, it’s counterproductive to try to disarm the law-abiding citizens who might otherwise be able to defend themselves.

        The documentary contains seven anti-campus carry arguments, none of which supporters of campus carry are allowed to respond to:

        1. Campus carry impedes freedom of speech.
        2. The campus carry law makes it difficult for professors to do their jobs.
        3. Campus carry has introduced a level of tension and wariness into the classroom setting.
        4. Campus carry causes everybody to live in fear.
        5. College students are too young and immature to carry guns.
        6. Police can’t tell the good guys from the bad guys.
        7. Policing should be left to the police.

        The producers of this documentary made an effort to show people carrying and shooting guns but no effort to get the input of the experts on the pro-campus carry side of the debate. Having a handgun instructor explain the new law and speaking briefly with one license to carry holder who touches on why he personally supports campus carry doesn’t counterbalance interviewing an anti-campus carry activist, a professor, and a retired police officer, all three of whom make detailed arguments against campus carry.

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