August 1, 1966. Standing atop the University of Texas at Austin iconic clock tower, 25-year-old engineering student Charles Whitman holds a high powered rifle and sprays the campus with gunfire for a terrifying 96 minutes. By day’s end, Whitman and 16 others are dead. The carnage constitutes the first major shooting on an American campus.
This August, on the 50th anniversary of the Tower Shooting, the University of Texas at Austin is confronted with a very different challenge: implementing SB11, the latest gun law out of the Texas Legislature that allows students to carry concealed weapons on campus and in classrooms. Tamron Hall, co-host of NBC News’ TODAYand anchor of MSNBC Live with Tamron Hall, as well as host of Investigation Discovery’s (ID) hit series DEADLINE: CRIME, brings her signature reporting style to the all-new special, “GUNS ON CAMPUS: TAMRON HALL INVESTIGATES.”
“In a country with a history of more than 270 school shootings, will putting more guns in the hands of students and faculty prevent bloodshed, or be the cause of further death and injury?” poses Hall. “Is there common ground which might provide a path forward towards school safety or will ideological opposition prevent progress? I am eager to probe all of these questions and more to help provide some context – historical, legislative and personal – to this multi-faceted debate.”
“Tamron’s ability to connect with viewers through her unique – and very personal – storytelling approach is the reason why we chose her to tackle this very controversial – indeed, nation-dividing – topic of guns on college campuses,” said Henry Schleiff, Group President, Investigation Discovery, American Heroes Channel and Destination America. “Tamron does an incredible job of explaining the framework behind this complex issue which will leave you questioning your position – regardless of what side of the issue you are on.”
In this groundbreaking and revealing one-hour special, Hall visits the campus of University of Texas Austin to speak to first-responders and witnesses of the 1966 Tower Shooting, as well as the current stakeholders of SB11. From Chancellor William McRaven – a former Navy SEAL who helped plot the raid that killed Osama bin Laden – to university professors, to students who hold views on all sides of the issue, Hall investigates the importance of securing one’s personal safety, and the rights of students over the age of 21 to carry concealed weapons on public property.
The conversation doesn’t stop in Texas. In a powerful interview, Hall brings together Virginia Tech survivor and anti-gun violence advocate Colin Goddard, and University of Nevada rape survivor, Amanda Collins, who is an advocate for campus carry, to lay out their positions behind this controversial debate among college campuses.