SBP's concealed-carry veto shot down by senate
Published: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 29, 2012 01:11
With a 41 to 16 vote, the A&M Student Senate overrode Student Body President John Claybrook’s veto of the Personal Protection Bill, effectively passing the bill during Wednesday night’s senate meeting.
The meeting began with an open forum in which students deliberated on the concealed carry in on-campus buildings issue. Amid the various pros and cons, Ashton Jackson, senior electrical engineering major and president of the campus organization Redefining Liberty, said Claybrook’s veto was an act of treading on the rights of students.
Claybrook vetoed the bill presented to him by the senate, citing a 2009 referendum in which 54 percent of the student body was against concealed carry in campus buildings and a 2011 referendum in which 57 percent were against it. He said in light of these referendums, the 67 percent approval seen in the initial senate vote was not representative of the students as a whole.
“The single reason is that I do not believe this bill is reflective of student feelings,” Claybrook said. “In the constitution of the [Student Government Association] it says that the purpose [of student government] is to represent students. It does not say that the student government’s purpose is to enact policies that they think will be best for the student although they might not know it yet. It’s very simple.”
Jackson said the referendums cited by Claybrook were illegitimate.
“Any ballot is only as good as the quality of its sample,” Jackson said. “Ask yourselves how many people were even aware of the referendum. It is well documented that those most likely to participate in a referendum are activists.”
John Cheshire, junior political science major, said because of the slower reaction times of Code Maroon, guns are needed on campus for protection as a last resort.
“The average shooting lasts 14 second. A district of Columbia court ruled that the police don’t have an obligation to protect you; they don’t have an obligation to protect anyone on campus; they just have a general obligation for the public safety,” Cheshire said. “That is the problem. The only person that can physically protect yourself is you and possibly the other people around you.”
In addition, three students spoke in opposition of the bill on behalf of international students in the open referendum.
Sanjay Nair, an electrical engineering graduate student, said it is nearly impossible for international students to legally obtain a gun. He also said while he accepts the disadvantage to hold a gun, he should not have to accept the disadvantages here.
“I accept my [legal] disadvantage because I am a visitor,” Nair said. “However, I am not a visitor here at A&M.”