Student Government votes no for Senate bill

Truman State’s Student Government voted 12-4 Sunday to formally position itself against multiple bills currently in the Missouri Legislature that would allow concealed firearms on college campuses.

Currently, Senate Bill 731 and House Bill 1910 would remove the ban on concealed carry firearms on college campuses but allow universities to enforce the ban if they secure each building entrance on their campuses with metal detectors and armed guards.

SB 589 would lift the ban on concealed firearms on all campuses without exception. HB 2698 would allow concealed firearms on campus in general, but prevent firearms in university hospitals, early childhood education centers and various other specialized areas. None of these bills have reached the floor of either chamber this session.

Campus is small enough for Truman’s Department of Public Safety to quickly respond to any crises, according to the resolution, which Truman Senior Senator senior Matt Cooper and Legislative Director senior Caitlyn Bess sponsored. Truman students are more likely than other students at other Missouri colleges to report depressive and suicidal tendencies, and making firearms more readily available on campus could undermine student safety, according to the same resolution.

After about an hour of debate, two motions to delay a final vote by extending further debate or tabling the bill by next week were proposed. Both motions failed.

Cooper says the resolution is representative of the majority of the student body’s opinion on the issue based on the student survey about concealed carry, and he says he was pleased with the culmination of Student Government’s campus outreach efforts.

“[Our] efforts were unprecedented in how hard we worked for it. You have to work really hard to get 1/6 of students to do anything.”

– Senior Senator senior Matt Cooper

Senior Molly Turner, Student Government president, says she was in favor of waiting another week to allow more debate, but she is proud of the extensive discussion her fellow senators had over the past several months. Turner says she hoped to give opposing senators more time to find common ground with the resolution but is satisfied with the outcome.

Junior Jake Buxton, External Affairs Committee chair, disputed several parts of the resolution. Buxton says allowing concealed carry on college campuses does not increase overall gun ownership, and students already own and carry concealed firearms off-campus without incident.

“What’s the difference between a 19-year-old on one side of Normal Street and a 19-year-old on the other side of Normal Street?” Buxton says.

Buxton also says Truman’s campus has several security flaws that might be exploited during a crisis situation, such as old doors that cannot be locked from the inside, which is exactly why he thinks on-campus concealed carry must be implemented.

To read more about Bill 731, continue reading on Issuu.