December 20, 2012
“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed….”- Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, 1787
On October 16, 1991, Hennard drove his 1987 Ford Ranger pickup truck through the front window of a Luby’s Cafeteria at 1705 East Central Texas Expressway in Killeen, yelled “This is what Bell County has done to me!”, then opened fire on the restaurant’s patrons and staff with a Glock 17 pistol and later a Ruger P89. About 80 people were in the restaurant at the time. He stalked, shot, and killed 23 people and wounded another 20 before committing suicide. During the shooting, he approached Suzanna Gratia Hupp and her parents. Hupp had actually brought a handgun to the Luby’s Cafeteria that day, but had left it in her vehicle due to the laws in force at the time, forbidding citizens from carrying firearms. According to her later testimony in favor of Missouri’s HB-1720 bill and in general, after she realized that her firearm was not in her purse, but “a hundred feet away in [her] car”, her father charged at Hennard in an attempt to subdue him, only to be gunned down; a short time later, her mother was also shot and killed. (Hupp later expressed regret for abiding by the law in question by leaving her firearm in her car, rather than keeping it on her person. One patron, Tommy Vaughn, threw himself through a plate-glass window to allow others to escape. Hennard allowed a mother and her four-year-old child to leave. He reloaded several times and still had ammunition remaining when he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head after being cornered and wounded by police.
Reacting to the massacre, in 1995 the Texas Legislature passed a shall-issue gun law allowing Texas citizens with the required permit to carry concealed weapons. The law had been campaigned for by Suzanna Hupp, who was present at the Luby’s massacre and both of whose parents were shot and killed. Hupp testified across the country in support of concealed-handgun laws, and was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1996. The law was signed by then-Governor George W. Bush and became part of a broad movement to allow U.S. citizens to easily obtain permits to carry concealed weapons.