By SEAN BATURA
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.”Email | Print