The past two weeks have been filled with anxiety for the ETSU Student Government Association senate, discussing legislation that would allow guns in personal vehicles on campus.
The senate did not pass the legislation in their meeting on Tuesday.
The legislation aimed to allow students and faculty with carry permits to be able to leave their gun in their vehicle while on campus.
“I think there needs to be some serious amendments made to this legislation before I would even vote on it,” Sen. Kevin Carlson said.
Carlson amended the legislation before the senate vote and added that the gun must not be loaded and must be concealed in the car in order to avoid someone seeing it.
According to state law, it is legal for an individual who is 21 years or older with a carry permit to leave their gun in their car when visiting a site that does not allow them to carry their guns on their person.
However, the Tennessee Board of Regents does not allow guns to be on university property.
“I am the age of 21, but I am not allowed to have alcohol on campus,” Sen. Jasmine Parks said. “However, I comply with the campus rules despite what is legal by the state.”
During last week’s meeting, SGA President Alex Cassell said the senate should consider how they were going to vote and discuss the piece of legislation, asking them to not turn it into a gun control debate.
“This might turn into a gun debate in time, and gun control is very subjective, so you might have to approach it that way,” Sen. Nathan Farnor said. “There’s not one answer that applies to every location and situation.”
Farnor also said it was important to consider the high stress and suicide rates that occur among students.
“In my opinion, even though I am pro-gun, I don’t think a college campus is the place where they should be,” Farnor said.
One in 10 college students plan a suicide, and more than 1,000 suicides actually occur on campuses every year.
Farnor also mentioned that the legislation would have to go through approval from the university and TBR before it could be put into effect.
“I’ve talked to several students and faculty who have talked about this issue extensively, and they have agreed that they would not feel safe,” Sen. Dustin Gilmer said. “If you haven’t talked to the students and talked to them about this issue, it’s about what they want to feel and that they should feel safe.”
Senators have encouraged each other to talk to students and faculty to receive feedback on the legislation and inform students about what the legislation would mean for them.
“I don’t want students to see this and think we are lessening our policies on guns or interpreting it incorrectly if this passes,” Sen. Garrett Parks said.