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From Luby’s to the Legislature
One Woman’s Fight Against Gun Control
By Suzanna Gratia Hupp
The mass shooting at Luby’s Cafeteria in Central Texas made news around the world and turned an unknown chiropractor into a national champion for the right of ordinary citizens to carry guns for self-defense.
Suzanna Gratia, then 32, was having lunch with her parents at the restaurant in Killeen that day in October 1991 when a man crashed his pickup through a window and began shooting people. When the shooting stopped, her mother and father were dead along with 22 other people, including the shooter.
No one was interviewed more about that shooting than Suzanna Gratia Hupp (her married name). She became an icon for gun rights and the Second Amendment because she was not afraid to be interviewed by the news media and because she told them what they did not expect hear. She wasn’t mad at the shooter – how can you be mad at a rabid dog? – and she did not blame guns. She blamed politicians who had legislated away her right to carry a gun to protect herself and her family.
No one has had more to do with passing the rash of state concealed-carry laws that swept the country in the 1990s allowing ordinary law-abiding citizens to carry handguns for self-defense. She has told her story to the national media and has testified before Congress and numerous state legislatures. She served for 10 years in the Texas Legislature. Now she has put it all down in a memoir entitled From Luby’s to the Legislature: One Woman’s Fight Against Gun Control.
Hupp recounts how guns have affected her life – from playing with cap guns with her brother to filing bills in the Texas Legislature to allow students with concealed carry licenses to pack guns on college campuses. The latter has become a hot topic following the shootings at Virginia Tech.
She tells what happened on October 16, 1991 at the Luby’s Cafeteria and how it affected her and her family. She recalls making “the stupidest decision” of her life when she decided several months before the shooting to stop carrying a revolver in her purse in case she was caught and lost her chiropractor’s license. That decision left her unarmed at the time she most needed her gun.
While Hupp had much to do with the passage of concealed carry laws, her attitude about them is ambivalent. She calls them “discriminatory at best and racist at worst.” In most states the licenses are expensive and far beyond the reach of many who most need a gun for self-defense– a minority single mother being stalked by a former husband or boyfriend. She also thinks that ordinary citizens should not have to seek permission from government to exercise a constitutional right.
Hupp lives with her husband and two sons on a small ranch near Lampasas in Central Texas where she raises Arabian horses.
Title: From Luby’s to the Legislature
Subtitle: One Woman’s Fight Against Gun Control
Author: Suzanna Gratia Hupp
Publication Date: October 2009
No. of Pages: 188
No. of Photos: 24
Trim Size: 5½ x 8½
Binding: Cloth (hardcover)