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Melanie Ferrari, the Texas State’s Associated Student Government president in 2010, announces her veto of a student senate resolution calling for concealed handguns on the campus. MERCURY PHOTO by SEAN BATURA

By SEAN BATURA
News Reporter

Associated Student Government (ASG) President Melanie Ferrari vetoed a resolution Wednesday that opposed Texas State’s ban on concealed handguns.

Senators had approved the resolution on Monday by a vote of 25-10.

“This resolution did not fully represent the student body when it was passed Monday night,” Ferrari said. “The final roll call vote had 25 senators in favor, 10 not in favor, 7 abstentions and 14 absences. Twenty-five votes is less than the majority of members currently serving as senators for our Associated Student Government. Over one-third of the senate did not vote either for or against this resolution. In this instance, a majority passage by technicality is not enough to properly represent the sentiments of students. This is unacceptable and it is a disservice to the students, and I am charged to represent the interests of students exclusively. As their elected representative, I cannot allow this resolution to stand on the circumstances of its passage. For these reasons, I must veto this bill.”

Proponents of the pro-concealed carry resolution intended its approval to encourage the passage of HB 86, which was filed in the Texas Legislature last month. HB 86 would compel both public and private institutions of higher education to allow anyone with a concealed handgun license (CHL) to possess their firearms on campus, though universities could still ban the weapons from dormitories or other residential buildings.

The pro-concealed carry resolution stated that its purpose was to be used “as a means of creating a formal, representative statement on behalf of the majority of Texas State students only, and not a means for creating a policy or implementing an action.”

There were two CHL-related resolutions voted on by the Senate on Monday. The first resolution, which was in support of the university’s current ban on concealed handguns, failed by a vote of 27-23. Senators prohibited themselves from casting abstentions for the first resolution.

Senator Adam French, a principal supporter of concealed carry rights on campus, praised Ferrari’s intentions but said her veto went against them.

“I believe that the senate is a representative body in and of itself and represents the students of Texas State University to their fullest extent possible,” French said. “Whether senators were present or not, that falls on them. The burden falls on the individual senators who left during the meeting and didn’t stay for the second concealed carry legislation. At no point should the senators who voted for the second piece of legislation be penalized, and their constituents penalized, because other senators did not feel the need to stay for that vote.”

Ferrari said allowing concealed weapons on campus would imperil the University Police Department’s ability to effectively respond to an incident involving handgun-wielding killers and armed, CHL-bearing defenders. Ferrari said allowing concealed carry on a campus with a crime rate as low as Texas State’s would produce “unpredictable results.”

Said Ferrari, “Concealed carry is not something that will positively benefit our educational experience in any tangible way. Our university prides itself on the student-centered atmosphere it has fostered over its 111-year history. I believe that introducing the concealed carry element will distract from our education.”

The senate can override Ferrari’s veto by two-thirds vote, though French said he has no plans to make such an attempt. French said he may collaborate with other senators to write a memo in response to Ferrari’s veto.

“I do not believe that the votes are there to override the veto,” French said.

After the senators defeated the anti-concealed carry resolution, eight senators left Monday’s ASG meeting before the second, pro-concealed carry resolution was read and voted upon.

The second resolution, unlike the first, was not agendized for Monday’s meeting. The second resolution was created on-the-spot during Monday’s meeting by altering a word or two in the first piece of legislation. Senator Tyler Crump authored the pro-concealed carry legislation, and French, who had easy digital access to the first resolution, left the meeting to draft the new one. Crump remained at the meeting to preserve the quorum.

“We lost a remarkable number of senators, which is kind of baffling to me, because no piece of legislation is more important that another,” French said. “So, I was kind of shocked at senators to think that they could just leave after a vote of that nature, like there wasn’t any other piece of legislation that was coming up after that.”

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28 thoughts on “Ferrari vetoes handgun resolution at Texas State

  1. If ASG mattered much, then this would be an unprecedented expansion of executive power to super-impose a quorum requirement to diminish the impact of a majority vote. By her logic, only 10 of 56 elected representatives voted for her position — yet she alone inferred it is the position of the students. And she alone represents the students, not the elected representatives who overwhelmingly (25 – 10) passed the resolution? I have never put much weight in ASG; its sole value seems to be what the involved students learn from the process. Here, I think a good lesson for the executive is to have some guts and say you oppose the position without relying on a procedural argument so full of holes.

  2. While I agree with you John that ASG doesn’t mean a thing, and would add that the resoulution carries no weight at all with TSU; the reasoning given by Ms. Ferrari is just that, reasoning, not a procedural argument. That would have come if the quorum was lost, or if she had used the fact that it wasn’t on the agenda. Students did learn form this, if the legislature cant’ overturn a veto, and the executive has nothing to lose by vetoing an item; it will happen.

  3. TAMUG Student Senate Endorses Concealed Carry

    For a copy of the resolution see:
    http: //www.texaschlforum. com/viewtopic.php?f=90&t=40067 where it can be downloaded, or
    download it at
    http: //www.tamug. net/txchlforum/Concealed_Carry_ResolutionUpdated.pdf

    There were two representatives from the university, the Executive Director of Student Affairs and the Chief of Campus Police.

    This resolution is a Senate-only resolution and CANNOT BE VETOED by the Student Body President.

  4. John, to use your own style, it’s ONLY A TAMUG RESOLUTION. It carries the wieght of a quail feather.

    And before all y’all start calling me a carpetbagging pinko treehugger; I shoot, a lot. It’s not an issue with firearms or even CHL, they are nothing but nonbinding university student body resolutions. That’s it.

  5. From my understanding, the resolutions can be important because when the House bill goes up for vote, resolutions supporting concealed carry voted on by various universities can show that there is support for the bill which could help its passage. I could be wrong though.

  6. Woo Hoo. Aggies are in favor of guns. I know that’s going to influence a lot of state Reps. And what percentage of university students vote? More importantly, how much money do they contribute So it’s PR. The Lege will be more interested in the number of voters the NRA can swing.We all know what Bill Hicks ahd to say about PR flcks don’t we? Or, much ado about nothing.

  7. She obviously learned her political “style” from Obama…..to heck with what the actual vote was, *I* know the “true will of the people” and *I* will do what is best for us all…..

  8. I’m a lot more concerned about being hit by a car crossing Hopkins, or getting a notice from the IRS, or the price of postage going up than by either this resolution or the slim chance Charles Whitman will visit TSU.

    Would a resolution from UT carry more weight? More students. Just asking, I don’t really care, because, at least in my world, the answer is no, it’s just another nonbinding resolution.

  9. Winchester – I would hope that the university support/lack of support would matter, because HB 86 looks at concealed carry ON CAMPUS. Why should the NRA have more of a voice than the people it will actually have an effect on?

  10. First because the NRA is the largest single issue lobbying organization in the world. Second, they get out their votes. Third the members donate money. Votes & cash, the unholy duo of politics.

  11. I had ferrari as a guide when I first came to this school as a freshman. Great girl even though she couldn’t have been more wrong about this issue. Endorsing this issue publicly as a student body could infact and should influence the legislator. Even though those senator didn’t want to be involved in such a big decision dosent mean the decision made didn’t reflect the attitude on the students. After talking with classmates and staff for the last few days I’m sure a procarry attitude was the majority. Those opposed were so due to ignorance and were easily swayed by simple facts including minimum requirements and chl criminal statics. CHL holder are responsible adults who everyone see everyday with out knowing. There is a reason most people don’t know much about them, they don’t make noise because they don’t cause problems, only deter them.

  12. Good for her, standing up to the STUPIDITY that this measure represents! I don’t want some paranoid kid who goes to the range a couple of times a year deciding that they’re going to protect me. That’s a job for the people with training. Besides, how long will it be until it’s one of the ones with the concealed carry permit that snaps about a grade?

  13. I would want to carry a gun on campus not to protect you, but to protect me. Gimme a copy of your schedule. If we ever have a shooter on campus, I’ll make sure to stay away from you so you can defend yourself. However, I’d prefer to have a gun so I at least have a chance. This is ridiculous. A student CHL holder can have a gun at the Jack-n-the-Box across the street. I guess the street is an adequate barrier, in your opinion, to stop a “paranoid kid.” Great logic. This is for CHL holders only. Check out the DPS stats (found on the DPS website) and see how many CHL holders, percentage-wise, are involved in gun crimes. It’s not many.

  14. Dano, I’d say she learned her political style from Patrick Rose: Running away when you don’t have the votes to stop something is apparently now a good thing. The students who left were, with possibly two exemptions, all in the opposition camp.

    One thing the articles leaves out is that she had already decided to veto any pro-concealed carry resolutions before they were even written, and decided not to tell anybody. From the Star:

    — “I had made my decision at Monday’s meeting, even before that meeting,” Ferrari said. “I wanted to be prepared in case another piece of legislation was brought up. The reason I did not tell anyone was I felt it would be a disservice to the senate for them to find out from any other source but from me.” —

    But as I have said earlier, this isn’t a policy vote or anything binding. What matters is how representatives in Austin look at this. I would bet that a 25-10 vote will probably matter more than a single veto.

  15. Being able to defend oneself has nothing to do with your educational experience. It has everything to do with survival.

  16. It’s funny that Griffin Spell would talk about running away when you don’t have the votes because he did the same thing just a few months ago. Talk about irony, too funny

    Look the young lady was elected to make decisions for the greater good of all students and that’s what she has done.

  17. I actually have been to Ardmore. Wasn’t particularly impressed, but I did have some good Mexican food.

  18. Are you really trying to equate someone who withdrew from an election after sensing that it wouldn’t be a productive run (a reasonable and above all, fiscally responsible decision) to an elected official ignoring his duties (engaging in a political stunt on the taxpayer’s dime)? Wow.

    And no, elected officials aren’t “elected to make decisions for the greater good of all” – they are elected to fairly represent their constituents. I don’t want a big brother in office, I want a mouthpiece.

  19. Griffin,

    If it’s as you say and 12 of the 14 absences were “against”, the final vote would have then been 27-24. A close vote, but one that she would have lost on. So she tells those opposed to miss that session so she can pull her little power trip and blame it on poor attendance at the session? Never mind that there WAS a quorum there according to the rules of the governing body. Apparently SHE gets to decide what an acceptable quorum is now.

    Wow….what a scheme. Worthy of a future career politician, to be sure (and I DON’T mean that as a compliment).

    Of course, if the vote had gone 27-24, she would have STILL vetoed it claiming that there was “no clear direction given by ASG” and as such she had to go with what SHE felt was right.

    Actually, this tactic might have ended up better for her because then she would have at least had a close vote to back her up…..as it is, she just looks petty and manipulative.

    I would love to be a fly on the wall at the next ASG meeting…..no doubt the representatives that just had their votes disregarded will be upset to no smalll degree.

  20. So you trust your life to an old fat university cop who only wanted to become a cop so he could get back at the bullies that teased him in high school. After he went to the police academy he figured out that no REAL police department would hire him so he became a campus cop. And to let you in on a little clue, cops only go the the range once a year to “qualify” in a course of fire that is easier to pass than the CHL test is. To top it all off, it is not the cops’ job to protect you from anything ( Castle Rock vs. Gonzales, Warren vs. DC, Bowers vs. Devito, et al.)

  21. I have the right to defend myself. Don’t the professors commute? They too, have the right to defend themselves.
    Where is the imaginary boundary that says “you can’t function correctly on the campus with a gun?”
    All concealed carry holders should be able to carry.

  22. I’ve been told one student voted for both resolutions, and that at least one pro-CC student left (he had a mandatory RA meeting). But the consensus seems to be that the second resolution would have passed by a couple votes regardless.

  23. The student body is by far against concealed carry, and thats okay. I have seen a poll conducted recently showing 80 percent against. Most of the twenty percent is made up of students like you Griffin, older non-traditional students. As a CC license holder myself, I fail to comprehend the invisible line between carrying legally on the mall, but breaking the law when entering a building. One argument that I think hurts the cause is the one that a CC could stop a mass shooter on campus. Those of us who carry know that we do so to protect ourselves first, and that if we can retreat safely, that is our first choice. “Going after” a shooter is always a poor decision. A compact firearm, besides being fairly inaccurate on a moving target, is also not very powerful outside of 15 yards. No match for a high powered rifle or full size semi auto. I think if there was a plan in place as to how CC’ers who live in dorms would be handled, possible continuing the ban weapons in residences? Maybe more of the 80 percent would be more comfortable with the idea.

  24. Pingback: QUOTE CORNER - San Marcos Local News

  25. She should just come and say thats she vetoed the bill because she’s against it, instead of giving this long excuse about numbers.

    She does have a future in politics after all.

  26. You’re right joe- facts and numbers just cloud the issues. You disagree with her, so she must be wrong.

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