On Nov. 8, ASMSU Senate voted against a resolution that would take the first steps towards allowing students to carry concealed weapons on campus. Even though 12 states around the nation allow individuals with a permit to carry concealed weapons on college campuses, ASMSU Senate had many reasons behind their decision to reject the resolution.
Student-led club, College Republicans at MSU (CRMSU), proposed this bill to the Senate in an effort to utilize their right to the Second Amendment. According to CRMSU, the club works to fulfill its “obligation to preserve the Republican Party by balancing debate on Montana’s liberal college campuses and fulfilling our mission” to empower and motivate College Republicans.
One of the reasons the resolution failed was for “poor writing.” The Senate agreed that before the resolution could be considered, it would have to be amended drastically, as well as be more thoroughly-researched. In the meeting, they briefly discussed amending the resolution in the moment, but decided against it.
Another reason was because of safety concerns among the students, many of whom spoke against the resolution for a variety of reasons. These students represented minority and marginalized groups on campus. The Sustainability Club, History Grad Students Association, American Studies Student Association, Queer Straight Alliance (QSA) and the Black Student Union were among the campus clubs and organizations that opposed the resolution. Attendants told their personal stories as well as passed on worries from students who were not able to make it to the meeting.
Koley Clements, President of QSA, spoke out about the increased risk this will pose for the LGBTQ community. This initiative will put this community at a higher risk for self-harm and suicide attempts. Many of these students supported their claims using statistics and anecdotes of mass shootings that have occured on college campuses around the nation.
There were also students in attendance who supported the resolution. They mentioned how having their firearm on hand at all times made them feel more secure and that their main concern lied with protecting themselves. One student voiced that students can’t control people so the university should allow them the opportunity to protect themselves. They also used statistics and personal accounts to persuade the Senate.