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Baylor campus carry bill vetoed by student body president

Baylor campus carry bill vetoed by student body president

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Baylor University’s student body president vetoed a campus carry resolution passed by the student senate, blocking the measure from moving to the university’s administration for consideration.

Student Body President Dominic Edwards announced his veto at the senate’s Thursday meeting. He presented a PowerPoint outlining his concerns about whether the resolution’s passage violated the senate’s constitution by not properly seeking input from students, faculty and staff.

The resolution, passed Sept. 18, recommends allowing concealed handgun license holders — including students, faculty, staff and guests — to carry their weapons on campus.

“Student senate is meant to voice the concerns of the students, not pick a concern and say, ‘Hey, I think is a concern of the students, you should believe me on this,’ ” Edwards said.

The senate attempted to override the veto in a closed vote, but did not have a two-thirds majority to move the resolution forward to Baylor’s administration.

The senate swore in 13 freshman senators at Thursday night’s meeting, meaning more votes were cast on the veto measure than on the original campus carry resolution.

That Sept. 18 vote also was conducted in closed session, though Student Senate President Lawren Kinghorn said it did not have unanimous support.

Senior student Sen. Gannon McCahill, the author of the resolution, argued that allowing concealed carry would not necessarily increase the number of people carrying guns on campus. But the measure could mean additional help in the event of an active shooter on campus.

“I want this campus to be safer,” McCahill said before the vote. “The only people who would be allowed to carry weapons on this campus would be the same people who carry weapons virtually everywhere else — restaurants, movie theaters, churches. Why not our campus?”

McCahill also aired frustration about the ability of the senate to push measures forward, noting that controversial issues tend to be “vetoed and pushed aside so the administration doesn’t have to deal with it.”

The student senate last fall approved a measure to drop “homosexual acts” out of the university’s sexual misconduct policy, but the body could not override a presidential veto.

Edwards, in his opening address to the body, questioned whether students were chasing issues simply because they made national headlines but not considering whether they were true concerns at Baylor.

“I think our university model is that we talk about national issues, any number of issues, but we have to make sure it’s applicable at Baylor University,” Edwards said.

Currently, concealed handgun license holders are allowed to keep their weapons locked in their vehicles on Baylor’s campus, in accordance with state legislation that went into effect in September 2013.

A Texas Senate bill that would have allowed concealed carry at public colleges and universities was stalled in committee during the 2013 legislative session. Universities still would have had the choice to opt out of allowing campus carry had that measure been approved.

Baylor spokeswoman Lori Fogleman previously said in a written statement that the university’s stance is that “concealed handguns on our campus would introduce potential challenges to campus safety overall and make more difficult the work of our public safety officers.”

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