Suzanna Gratia Hupp, DC (born September 28, 1959), is a former Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives, who represented traditionally Democratic District 54 (Bell, Burnet, and Lampasas counties) for ten years from 1997-2007. After surviving the Luby's shooting in 1991, Hupp became a leading advocate of an individual's right to carry a concealed weapon. Hupp was elected to her first of five consecutive terms in 1996. She did not seek a sixth two-year term in 2006. She has also written a book called From Luby's to the Legislature: One Woman's Fight Against Gun Control, published by Privateer Publications, San Antonio, Texas.
Early life and education
Suzanna Gratia was raised in Friendswood, Texas, a city partly in Harris and Galveston counties, the daughter of Al and Ursula "Suzy" Kunath Gratia. She has an older brother, Allan Gratia, and a younger sister, Erika. She attended the University of Texas at El Paso and Texas Chiropractic College in Pasadena, from which she received a Doctor of Chiropractic degree in 1985. Hupp moved first to Houston to practice chiropractic and then to Copperas Cove (which is located in Central Texas) in 1987. She owned and operated the Cove Physical Rehab Clinic from 1987 until 2000, when she sold the facility.
Texas House Rehab Video
Surviving the Luby's shooting, subsequent activism
Hupp and her parents were having lunch at the Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen in 1991 when a mass shooting took place. The gunman shot 44 people in all, killing 24 of them, including himself. The fatally wounded included both of Hupp's parents. Hupp later expressed regret about deciding to remove her gun from her purse and lock it in her car, lest she risk possibly running afoul of the state's concealed weapons laws; during the shootings, she reached for her weapon but then remembered that it was "a hundred feet away in my car." Her father, Al Gratia, feeling he "needed to do something", tried to rush the gunman and was fatally shot in the chest instead. Hupp, eventually seeing an escape through a broken window (broken by the shoulder of another fleeing victim), grabbed her mother by the shirt telling her "Come on, we have to go now!" As Hupp moved toward the only escape, she believed her mother to be following her, only to find out later that Ursula had also been killed.
Hupp was 32 years old at the time of the shooting. As a survivor of the incident, Hupp testified across the country in support of concealed-handgun laws, citing that if there had been a second chance to prevent the slaughter, she would have violated the Texas law and carried the handgun inside her purse into the restaurant that day and it being highly likely she would also still have her parents with her today. She also stated in her testimony that she would have taken the felony on her head over having lost her parents through the tragedy, adding that those shouldn't be the choices, however, and that people should be able to defend themselves in a true emergency without having to choose one over another. She testified across the country in support of concealed handgun laws, and was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1996. The concealed-weapons bill was signed by then-Governor George W. Bush.
Election returns, 1996-2004
In the 1996 legislative election, the incumbent Democrat in the district, Layton Black, did not run again. Hupp defeated Democratic nominee Dick Miller, 17,620 votes (52.8 percent) to 15,757 ballots (47.2 percent). At the time, the district included Bell and Lampasas counties but also the small populated counties of McCulloch, Mills, and San Saba. In 1998, Hupp defeated Democrat Don Armstrong, 11,954 votes (54.8 percent) to 9,866 ballots (45.2 percent). In 2000, she again defeated Armstrong, 23,139 (62.2 percent) to 14,084 (37.8 percent). The higher turnout reflected the presidential election year. Hupp was unopposed in 2002. In 2004, Hupp defeated the Democrat Edward Lindsay of Killeen, 28,907 votes (60.9 percent) to 18,594 votes. (39.1 percent).
Appearances and accolades
Hupp has been quoted in such publications as U.S. News & World Report, The Wall Street Journal, Texas Monthly, and Time and People magazines. She was featured on CBS's 48 Hours, ABC's World News Tonight and season 3 episode 9 of Bullshit!. Hupp can be heard in episode 81 of This American Life, giving a first-hand account of her experience in the Luby's massacre of Killeen, TX in 1991.
Hupp has authored a book regarding her experiences: "From Luby's to the Legislature: One Woman's Fight Against Gun Control", published by Privateer Publications, San Antonio, Texas.
Hupp was awarded the Sybil Ludington Women's Freedom Award by the National Rifle Association. In 1998, Charlton Heston honored Hupp as the first Texan awarded a lifetime NRA membership.
In the state House, Hupp was a member of the House Rural Caucus and the House Veterans and Military Affairs Caucus. In November 2003, Speaker Tom Craddick appointed Hupp as chair of the House select committee on child welfare and foster care. Craddick also named her to chair the Human Services Committee in the 79th Legislature. She also served on the House Law Enforcement Committee.
Hupp has been recognized by many conservative interest groups: the American Family Association, Free Market Foundation, the Texas Association of Business, the Chamber of Commerce, Texas Alliance For Life, Texas Eagle Forum, and the Young Conservatives of Texas. She was rated 100 percent pro-life by the Texas Right to Life Committee.
Hupp is quoted as having said, "How a politician stands on the Second Amendment tells you how he or she views you as an individual... as a trustworthy and productive citizen, or as part of an unruly crowd that needs to be lorded over, controlled, supervised, and taken care of."
Hupp has hosted a radio talk program in the Greater Austin area. She is a co-founder of the Civil Liberties Defense Foundation, a non-profit legal foundation dedicated to providing educational information relating to the preservation of civil liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution and to providing legal services to protect those rights.
She is married to Greg Hupp, who has served as her campaign manager. They have two sons, Alexander and Ethan. The Hupps have a small Arabian horse ranch near Kempner in Lampasas County.
Hupp did not seek a sixth term in 2006.
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