Concealed carry bill sent to committee for review
Published: Thursday, October 18, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 18, 2012 01:10
Student Senate presented a bill Wednesday advocating to allow anyone with a concealed handgun license to carry a concealed handgun on campus and inside buildings. Currently, those with a concealed handgun license may only carry a concealed gun outside of buildings, but not inside.
Cary Cheshire, junior political science major and liberal arts senator, is the author of the bill, titled the “Texas A&M Personal Protection Bill.”
“The motivation behind [the bill] was improving campus security,” Cheshire said. “We have had a lot of instances at other campuses in recent memory. We can all remember Virginia Tech and t.u. had the bomb scare a little while ago.”
Cheshire said he is not a part of the student organization, Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, but he is open to input from the organization and other students while reviewing the bill.
A referendum that asked the student body whether or not they wanted to have concealed handguns on campus took place in 2010 during the spring student body elections. The results showed that 54 percent of the student body that voted was against having concealed handguns on campus.
Mariana Fernandez, speaker pro-tempore and senior political science major, asked Cheshire during the bill’s presentation why he was presenting the bill if Texas A&M students voted to not have concealed handguns on campus in the referendum.
“So if the student body is obviously against it, then why are we using the Student Senate to lobby on behalf of them in Austin?” Fernandez said.
Cheshire said the referendum held in 2010 was not representative of all students.
and that constitutional issues such as the one discussed tonight are not subject to votes.
“I do not think that the entirety of the student body voted in that referendum and I don’t think that constitutional rights are held up for votes,” Cheshire said.
Omar Ghannoum, junior petroleum engineering major and senator representing the engineering caucus, said in this case Student Senate was out of its place.
“Student Senate does not have jurisdiction over this case,” Ghannoum said. “I think it would be in its place if the bill were to be revised to say that the Aggie’s have this specific opinion.”
To clarify, Ghannoum said if the bill were to be revised to where it simply represented student opinion on this matter instead of calling on the University and the State legislature to change its policies then it would be more acceptable for Student Senate to address the issue.
The bill was sent to Legislative Affairs committee within the Student Senate where it will be edited and reviewed. Further deliberation and a final vote on the bill will take place after the bill is released from the committee and should take place in the coming weeks, said speaker of the senate Scott Bowen.
If the bill is passed, it will be sent to the University Administration and the Texas Legislature where it will represent the student opinion of Texas A&M University.
Also at the meeting, member of the A&M Board of Regents, Jim Schwertner, paid his annual visit to the senate. Schwertner discussed the status of the University and took questions from senators.
Charles Arvin, senior economics major, was confirmed at the meeting as the Chief Justice of the Judicial Court of the Student Government Association. There was no debate against his confirmation.
Other bills that were voted on by the senate are the “Eligibility for Elections Bill” — which was voted down — and the “Fair Printing Fees Bill.”
The “Fair Printing Fees Bill” requests that any form of printing documents on campus is charged to the print allocation first before charging the student’s billing account. The bill passed in senate and will move to the student body president to be signed by the executive cabinet.