University of Memphis Students: We Want Campus Carry

The student government of the University of Memphis voted against a bill that opposed a proposed campus carry bill in their state.

The student senate was one vote shy of passing a bill Thursday that attempted to speak on behalf of the university student body by saying "that the students do not support Guns on Campus Bill," according to this story from the Daily Helmsman.

Currently, the Guns on Campus Bill, proposed by state Sen. Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville), is working its way through the Tennessee state legislature. It would permit licensed college and state university employees to carry concealed on college campuses, according to this story from thecollegefix.com.

Several members of U of M’s student government responded to the bill’s announcement by writing a bill against Campfield’s bill. Of course, student government can’t do much to stop the state legislature, but those council members wanted to show that university students didn’t want people to carry on campus, the story says.

"Police are the ones who are assigned to protect, so if they are failing, we need to solve that problem," said student senator Birjush Kumar. "If you are looking for a solution, you need to get to the root cause and fix that."

The vote on the bill was seven in favor, four against and four abstained. A vote of eight is required for a majority.

Oddly enough Kumar, a co-sponsor of the bill, left before voting began, the story says.

"We are a non-partisan group, but we know that most people on campus tend to lean left, which means they don't necessarily support concealed carry," said Stuart M. Dedmon, state director of Students for Concealed Carry. "I consider this a victory."

When speaking to the school’s Student Government Association about the goals of his organization, he noted that states with campus carry have been incident-free.

"There are actually nine states that have already passed this, and in all of those states there have been absolutely no issues as far as a spike in crime," he said in the story.

Texas is the most recent state to pass a campus carry law LINK that allows anyone, including students, with a CCW permit to carry on campus, and Kansas’ new law allowing guns on public campuses will take effect this summer. LINK

During the debate before the vote, Ashley Courtney, a sophomore SGA senator said she’s behind the bill passing in the state legislature.

“As a woman I feel like when I’m walking to the parking lot and someone is trying to attack me, I can’t be like, ‘Oh, hold on, don’t rob me, me me call police services first,’” she said. “I would feel a lot safer knowing I could reach in my bag and have a weapon.”

Even if the bill passed the state legislature and is signed into law, only licensed school employees would be permitted to carry on campus.