Student Senate moves forward with concealed handgun bill

By Jillian Anderson

After a week of review, Student Senate voted passed a bill suggesting the university policy allow licensed concealed handgun carriers to have their weapons on campus.

Woodinville, Wash., senior Gannon McCahill said he authored the bill to protect the campus and secure change.

“As student senate, we do our best to provide for students,” McCahill said.

He acknowledged the expertise of the Baylor Police Department, but expressed concern for classroom situations.

Although the bill passed, the process isn’t done here. The Student Body President must also agree to the bill before it is sent to university administartion, including president Ken Starr and the Board of Regents as stated in the bill. With this resolution, McCahill said he wants to voice student opinions and try to enact change if he can in policy.

The idea of allowing a students to carry handguns who have a concealed carry license on campus, is not new. In 2013, the Baylor Young Conservatives pushed for a Texas state bill that would have mandated that all university campuses allow concealed carry on campus. The bill was shot down, however, and as a private university, Baylor had the right to decide whether or not to allow concealed handguns on campus.

Lawren Kinghorn, the internal vice president and president of Student Senate stated the goal of Student Senate is that of constant communication and feasibility.

Kinghorn said although the student senate is a representative body of the student population, the bills passed are not mandates, rather suggestions.

“The role of student government is to find that common ground and make sure that student needs are met,” Kinghorn said.

Many other representative bodies on campus will weigh in on the bill. Faculty Senate will discuss the matter.

Dr. Dwight Allman, associate professor of political science and member of the Faculty Senate, said he’s not at all persuaded by the threat of an attack on campus calling for concealed carry.

“I don’t think there’s a need for this,” he said. He suggested reliance upon the already instated safety institutions such as the Baylor Police Department. However, it is his duty to represent his constitutes and he will consider their opinion when it’s time for discussion.