Legislation calling on curators to allow firearms on campus fails in MSA full Senate

Senator Chris Vas: “More guns, more violence, and I agree with that, however I reject the idea that students are not mature enough to carry firearms.”

A resolution asking the UM System Board of Curators to change the system’s Collected Rules and Regulations to allow guns on campus failed by a vote of 14-9 in full Senate Wednesday.

The resolution, which also failed in the MSA Campus and Community Relations Committee Tuesday, would ask the curators to change the policy of Collected Rules and Regulations, which currently states that “the possession of and discharge of firearms, weapons and explosives on University property including University farms is prohibited except in regularly approved programs or by University agents or employees in the line of duty.”

While the CCRC vote failed, the resolution was brought to the Senate floor because of a 2016 MSA resolution that requires legislation with signatures from 50 or more students to be heard by the full body. Social Justice Senator Chris Vas, author of the resolution, got 85 signatures on the petition.

Vas cited a Colorado Concealed Carry Act which instituted concealed carry on college campuses in 2003. Missouri law does not prohibit the conceal and carry of firearms on college campuses.

The Colorado Court of Appeals has ruled twice that under the Colorado Concealed Carry Act universities do not have the authority to ban concealed carry license holders from carrying their firearms on public campuses. Currently, nine states have implemented legal concealed carry on college campuses.

Vas mentioned Colorado State University, an institution that has permitted concealed carry on the school’s campus since 2010, as an example in his speech as a university that has successfully and safely allowed concealed carry on their campus without an increase in gun violence.

“This bill will not give students easier access to get guns,” Vas said. “More guns, more violence, and I agree with that, however I reject the idea that students are not mature enough to carry firearms.”

Senator Jessica Staley spoke in negation of the resolution. Staley said despite her personal familiarity with guns, she would feel unsafe with more weapons allowed on campus.

“I grew up around guns and I don’t agree with this,” Staley said. “When you have large volumes of guns in a small and concealed area, the likelihood of violent crimes happening is just a lot higher.”

Senator Gage Grispino, co-author of the legislation, spoke in support of the resolution and quoted the ASUM MU survey data from 2015-2016 that reported 39 percent of students in favor of either restricted or unrestricted concealed carry on campus and 59 percent in opposition.

After almost an hour of speeches in support of and opposition to the resolution, it failed.

“The discussion tonight was fueled with passion and became redundant,” CCRC Chairwoman Kelsey Christianson said. “I and the majority of Senate am happy with the result of [the] resolution.”

One student with a sign that said “MSA wants the most vulnerable to be defenseless” was escorted out of the meeting.

Edited by Sarah Hallam | shallam@themaneater.com

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