By Rocío Hernández
Two resolutions that oppose weapons on school campuses passed through the Associated Students of the University of Nevada senate on Wednesday, Feb. 25.
Senate resolutions 82-122 and 82-135 took a stance against Assembly Bill 2 and Assembly Bill 148. The senate passed S.Res 82-135 in a vote of 11-7 and S.Res 82-122 passed unanimously.
Both resolutions were written by Sen. Nick Andrew of Interdisciplinary Program.
AB 2, sponsored by Assemblyman John Hambrick, R-Las Vegas, looks to allow people to keep a weapon in a vehicle on school properties such as Nevada System of Higher Education institutions, public or private schools and child care facilities such as daycares.
AB 148, sponsored by Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, R-Las Vegas, five other state assembly members and one state senator, would allow people who have a concealed carry permit to possess a weapon on educational facilities similar to those mentioned in AB 2.
Before the senate meeting, ASUN informed students that they would be discussing both resolutions through email and social media and encouraged them to voice their opinions during the public comment portion of the meeting.
As a response, students filled the Rita Laden Senate Chambers. In the interest of time, Speaker of the Senate Caden Fabbi limited public comment to 31 students. Statements from Fiore and Assemblywoman Victoria Seaman were also read at the meeting.
According to the National Conference of State Legislature, there are currently seven states that allow concealed weapons on colleges campus.
Junior Jolene Dille attended to show her support for S.Res 82-135. She opposes AB 148 because she wouldn’t feel safe knowing that, if passed, any person that sits next to her in class could carry a weapon.
“I am not OK with sitting in my classroom, in a place where I should feel comfortable to speak my mind, where I should feel comfortable to just be, knowing that there is the potential that the person next to me has a weapon and … may have a whole host of other issues that could … cause any of us who are of normal sound mind to have a moment [in which they] make a poor decision to harm the people,” Dille said.
Unlike Dille, junior Eric Lavin opposed the resolution. He believes that CCW permit holders have gone through the proper training and considers that enough to deem them responsible individuals. Even if AB 148 is passed, Lavin doesn’t think many students will carry a gun to campus as the weapon can come with a hefty price tag. However, Lavin said that students should at least be given the choice to decide from themselves whether or not they want to carry a gun with them to school.
“I see campus carry as a deterrent to people who want to try to do harm to others and that they may think twice before thinking of doing any harm to a student or a faculty member on campus,” Lavin said.
Sen. Ryan Hood of the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resource was one of the seven senators that voted against S.Res 82-135. At the meeting, he referenced the shooting that took place at the Sigma Nu fraternity house, where he lives.
Hood has personally felt unsafe on campus and its surrounding neighborhood. He often leaves school and work after sunset and has had to walk to his home or car in the dark.
Because of the campus’ location, Hood considers individual safety to be an issue. He said that while the university does have security cameras and emergency “blue light” phones, he doesn’t considers these to be helpful in emergency situations.
“I hope the Nevada [Legislature] makes the right decision that the ASUN senate did not and support campus carry passing the legislation,” Hood said. “If passed, students with CCWs will have the choice to conceal carry on campus and potentially have the opportunity to protect themselves in the event an emergency situation calls for it.”
The discussion on the senate resolution opposing AB 2 was shorter and audience members did not stay to listen to senate’s final decision. Senators were hesitant to support AB 2 because the legislation it seeked to change was not limited to CCW permit holders.
ASUN will send a representative to Carson City on Thursday, March 5 to read their resolution regarding AB 148 to the Assembly Committee on Judiciary at 8 a.m.
However, Andrew isn’t sure about how much influence their resolution opposing AB 148 will have at Carson City.
“We thought that regardless of whether it is going to be passed or not, we wanted the Associated Students to have their voice heard,” Andrew said. “We will continue to be involved in the process … to make sure that, if anything does pass, it is representative of the vast situations for both sides and if we can, we would like to be able to sway enough votes so that it actually doesn’t pass.”
Rocio Hernandez can be reached at email@example.com on Twitter @rociohdz19.