[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Truman State Student Government hosted a series of events last week to gauge student opinion about recently proposed State Senate bills allowing guns on campus.
The bills — SB 589 and SB 731 — would remove higher education institutions from the current list of places where concealed carry is prohibited. SB 589 removes the prohibitory measures for concealed firearms on college campuses, according to the current bill summary. SB 731 states higher education institutions can apply for an exemption from the Missouri Department of Public Safety if electronic weapon screening devices and security personnel are placed at all building entrances.
The first event hosted at Truman was an open forum for bill discussion Feb. 9, where Sara Holzmeier, Department of Public Safety director, spoke about the bills.
Holzmeier says while she is concerned with Missouri’s low age limit on concealed carry permits and the increased availability of firearms on campuses, she thinks the bills could be good for making campuses a less likely target for potential shooters.
“Schools are kind of what they call ‘soft targets. It’s common knowledge that nobody has a weapon on campus but university police.”
– Sara Holzmeier, Director of Department of Public Safety
Holzmeier says campus administrators currently are discussing how the bills will affect campus. She said if either of the bills are passed, it will not affect the way Truman’s DPS will operate.
Student Government’s second event was a debate Thursday. Those arguing in favor of the bill were junior Jake Buxton, chair of External Affairs, and associate seator freshman Chester Pelsang IV. Those in opposition were senior Parker Conover, former chair of Grants and Sponsorship, and senior Zach Hollstrom, Health, Wellness and Safety chair.
During the student government debate, Pelsang says concealed carry would deter and possibly even prevent crime on campus, and it would keep campuses from being soft targets for potential shooters.
“This [is a] soft target issue,” Pelsang says. “It is very pressing, and I think it’s very important that we discuss it further in length. It will affect all of us, and I cannot [express] enough that we need to continue this dialogue.”
In opposition, Conover says the criteria to allow for an alternative to concealed carry on campus outlined in SB 731 are not financially feasible.
For more information, pick up a copy of the Index or read more on Issuu.