Student Government postponed a vote on a resolution opposing campus carry policies Tuesday. The vote was postponed in order to allow more students to voice their opinion on the matter, according to Tanner Long, College of Liberal Arts Student Government representative and co-author of the resolution.
“After receiving numerous emails from members of the student body and hearing testimony from certain individuals … it was an effort between some of us, the authors, to go ahead and decide not to pursue that,” Long said. “We felt like that would bring more merit, more weight to the resolution, so it wouldn’t seem like it was rushed out of our assembly. We wanted to make sure we have proper student input.”
Under current state laws, licensed students, faculty and staff are allowed to keep handguns in their cars on campus. With the passing of SB 11, the University would not be able not prohibit licensed students, faculty or staff from carrying concealed handguns on campus.
The resolution was met with opposition before the meeting, when several students voiced their disapproval of the bill in an open forum, especially expressing frustration about the fast-paced nature of the resolution.
“To pass a resolution that supposedly represents the voice of all UT students would be ludicrous, given the insufficient time students have had to learn of its existence, process the information, form an opinion, and relay that opinion to their representatives,” accounting junior Andrew Jackson, who spoke at the meeting, said.
The resolution was filed Monday afternoon and was set to be fast-tracked to a vote at the meeting, skipping over the committee approval process, so as to reach a consensus before the Senate holds a public hearing at the Capitol on Thursday.
“That decision bears the weight of 52,000 students essentially,” Long said. “On issues that are as controversial as this, it is difficult to ascertain what the student body wants. I think it comes down to the representatives … it is their job as a member of Student Government to reach out to their constituents.”
Braydon Jones, speaker of the assembly, said he approved the resolution to be fast-tracked to a vote because of the relevance of the campus carry issue in the state legislature.
The resolution will be sent to the Legislative Affairs committee next week and will thereafter be put to a vote.
UT System Chancellor William McRaven has publicly expressed disapproval of the campus carry bill, saying he believes “the presence of concealed weapons will make a campus a less-safe environment.”
Assumptions that campus carry would cause higher rates of gun violence are false, according to government senior Spencer Raley, because other universities enacting similar bills have yet to see spikes in crime rates,
“The reality and facts state that you can expect more of a decrease in crime and deterrence,” Raley said.
Student Government will host a town hall-style committee meeting in the coming week to assess student opinion on the issue, Long said.
“If this [resolution] comes to a vote and passes next Tuesday, it shows legislators that one of the largest campuses is against campus carry,” Long said.