ASNMU addresses concealed weapons

Alex Belz

The Associated Students of NMU (ASNMU) voted unanimously this week on a resolution against the bills in the Michigan state Senate and House which would allow people with concealed carry weapon permits (CCWs) to bring their guns on campus.

ASNMU President Jason Morgan said that the legislation would change the way that guns are regulated at the university.

“The bill from the House allows guns on campus. The bill in the Senate removes the university’s right to regulate guns on campus,” Morgan said. “Essentially, the bills repeal the right of the university to regulate guns on campus. Right now, the university has its own autonomy.”

The resolution said that ASNMU is against House Bill 4348 and Senate Bill 747. Morgan said allowing guns on campus is dangerous.

“I think it’s playing politics with students lives,” Morgan said. “I think it’s absurd to even consider allowing guns on campus.”

Morgan said that several students with CCW permits have come up to him and said they felt they should be able to carry guns on campus. He said he thought even allowing guns which are legally obtained and registered, is risky.

“The argument is that if students were allowed to bring their own guns on campus, we wouldn’t have situations like Columbine or Virginia Tech. But let’s say a shooter walks into a classroom . if three other students pull out their guns and they start shooting, there’s a good chance they’ll hit other students,” Morgan said. “And when Public Safety comes in, they’re not going to be able to tell who the dangerous shooter is and who is trying to defend themselves.”

ASNMU representative TJ Weber, who authored the resolution, said that after an article published in the Nov. 19 issue of the North Wind on the new CCW legislation came out, many students came to ASNMU wondering what could be done to stop it.

“ASNMU took on what students told us to take on. This is us standing up for students,” Weber said. “It’s basically a group effort.”

The next step for ASNMU now that the resolution has passed is to go to the students. Weber said that a booth at the LRC has been discussed in order to gain feedback from students as well as educate them on the issue.

Another option is joining with the Student Association of Michigan (SAM), the overseeing body of Michigan student governments like ASNMU, in contesting the new legislation, should SAM decide it is against it.

Currently, SAM remains divided, as student governments across the state are having mixed reactions to the news of the legislation.

“It seems like when this was happening, it was kind of a mixed bag. Some schools are opposed [to the legislation], and some felt like the opinion on campus was varied,” said Jordan Twardy, president of SAM. “The delegates had an opinion. They were informed, but they wanted to make sure their students were equally informed before they committed to a position. I think it’s a fair approach. I think if you’re going to be a body that represents the students at your school, you don’t want to speak for them unless you know how they feel.”

Twardy said that SAM has not taken an official position on the issue yet, and that they will wait until more student governments have decided how they’re going to react to the proposed legislation before taking a stance.

Junior political science major Gavin Gray said he supports the proposed legislation, because those with CCW permits have to take classes and go through an extensive process to obtain the permit.

“It is important to consider that people who qualify and obtain a CCW are the people who follow the law, and have good intensions in mind,” Gray said. “If you don’t believe our state is capable of setting up a reasonable and effective institution to issue concealed weapon licensing, then how could you rely on that same state to protect you?”

Stephanie Fouts, a sophomore secondary education major, also supports the proposed legislation.

“I would love to be able to carry. I’m five feet [tall],” Fouts said. “I sometimes don’t feel safe even just walking home at night across campus, and I go to Northern. Imagine if I went somewhere else.”

Fouts said she has already taken classes for her CCW and plans to get one as soon as she turns 21 next year.

“I think that [on] college campuses, guns should absolutely be allowed. I do think you should have to take an extra class, maybe make it more difficult to get one,” Fouts said. “But in my opinion, I think that the legislation should passed.”