February 29, 2008

S.A. Broaches Concealed Carry

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At yesterday’s Student Assembly meeting, Mark Coombs ’08, director of elections, and Ahmed Salem ’08, an S.A. representative at-large and chair of the Cornell College Republicans, presented Resolution 17, which calls for “Concealed Carry [of weapons] on Campus.”
Although the resolution was originally brought up as “new business,” members of the S.A. approved a motion to move the resolution to “business of the day.” This meant that members would have the opportunity to vote on the resolution yesterday, rather than waiting a week, as is the rule with “new business.”
Coombs, who is also a Sun columnist, and Salem introduced the resolution by reading it aloud to the S.A. members and approximately 20 members of the community in attendance. The basis for the resolution is recent school shootings, such as the one that occurred earlier this month at Northern Illinois University.
[img_assist|nid=28373|title=More guns|desc=From left, Ahmed Salem ’08, S.A. at-large representative, and Mark Coombs ’08, S.A. director of elections, present a resolution calling for concealed carry on campus.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0] Coombs also cited Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.’s (R-Utah) legislation last year allowing concealed carry on all public university campuses in the state. Coombs said he hoped the resolution would be approached “intellectually and seriously.”
He also said the resolution was introduced because he “cares deeply about protecting the students,” and saw the resolution as “a way to increase safety on campus.”
At one point S.A. President C. J. Slicklen ’09 had to ask members of the S.A. to “curb [their] side comments.”
After the resolution was presented, Elan Greenberg ’08, a representative at-large and the former president of the S.A., called the resolution “terrifying” and said that he thought it was only a matter of time after the resolution was passed before there would be a “deadly accident.”
Finally, after several minutes of arguments from both sides, Asa Craig ’11, the freshmen S.A. representative, called for the resolution to be tabled until next Thursday’s meeting. Both sides agreed that this would give S.A. members time to think more deeply about the issue and come up with adequate support for their arguments.
If the resolution passes, Slicklen will ask the administration to do what it can to change current New York State law, which does not allow citizens to conceal and carry guns on college campuses. Citizens over 21 may conceal and carry guns on public property.
Before the meeting, Salem stressed that their resolution was “not a fringe issue at all,” citing Utah as an example of the cause’s acceptance.
After the meeting concluded, he said he hoped the S.A. members would “take as long as it takes so that people vote based on facts and evidence and not their preconceived notions about guns.”
He said that the issue at Cornell was not about the right to conceal and carry weapons in general, but rather to allow people to conceal and carry them legally on campus.
Vince Hartman ’08, the Arts & Sciences representative, said, “This is not a Republican issue,” adding that he plans on supporting Democrat Hillary Clinton in the upcoming presidential election.