Students’ Association reacts to gun bill

Jason Mann

Jason Mann

On Feb. 12, the Students’ Association passed Resolution 07-16 with only three nays, joining the SDSU Academic Senate, SDSU American Association of University Professors and the SDSU Career Service Advisory Council in opposition to the bill that would allow students to carry firearms on public university campuses.

The Senate State Affairs committee voted 7-1 to defer the bill to the 36th legislative day on Feb. 12, effectively killing the bill because the 2008 session is only 35 days long.

“We’re not opposing anyone’s rights to possess firearms. We just don’t think you need your gun in class or in the dorms,” said Sam Nelson, SA state and local chair and main proponent of the resolution. “We’d like to see you keep your gun in a storage facility. If students want that, we’re willing to work with the university to get that.”

One of the reasons state representatives supported the bill was that they wanted to support college students’ Second Amendment rights. Nelson said that historically, constitutional rights have been regulated on college campuses. He uses the necessity of protest groups to register with universities and review boards for speakers as a regulation on speech. Nelson said that universities should have the same authority to regulate firearms.

Nelson said before introducing the resolution, he talked to all of the senators from the College of Ag and Bio because many of their constituents are involved with hunting. All the senators he talked to told him that from what they had heard within their college, bringing a gun to class is unnecessary.

“Nobody’s telling us they want to bring a gun to class. What they are telling us is that they’re scared,” said Nelson.

Nelson believes the bill will be “smoked out” of committee. According to Joint Rule 7-7, smoking a bill out of committee requires a one-third vote of the Senators to bring the bill to the Senate floor with one of three labels given to it by the committee: do pass, do not pass or no recommendation. If the bill does not have a do pass recommendation, the full Senate will vote to put it on the calendar. If the committee attaches a do pass recommendation, the bill will automatically be put on the calendar.

“This bill still has the potential to pass. Anything can still happen,” said Nelson, who encourages all students opposed to HB 1261 to contact their legislators and give them a student’s perspective.

Currently, the Board of Regents controls where firearms are and are not allowed at public universities. HB 1261-introduced in reaction to HB 1086, which would have banned firearms on all public university campuses-would strip the BOR of its authority over guns. At this time, firearms are not allowed on the SDSU campus.

The full House passed HB 1261 on Feb. 4, voting 63-3.

Word for word–House Bill 1261No public institution of higher education may regulate or restrict the right to carry or possess a firearm in accordance with state law. No public institution of higher education may expel, dismiss or penalize any person who carries or possesses a firearm in accordance with state law. However, any public institution of higher education may require that any firearm in a campus dormitory of a public institution of higher education not in a person’s immediate possession be stored in a locked gun safe ?