The Auburn University senate voted to oppose Alabama House Bill 12, a bill that would allow concealed pistol permit holders to carry concealed pistols on campus, at its March 22 meeting.
Alabama Rep. Mack Butler, R-Rainbow City, is sponsoring the constitutional amendment. The bill was read to the state legislature on Feb. 2 and referred to the Education Policy Committee.
"Very possibly a concealed carry first responder could have changed the outcome" of some mass murders, Butler said.
The University's current gun policy prohibits the possession or use of any dangerous or potentially dangerous weapons, including all forms of firearms.
The introduction of concealed handguns into classrooms, laboratories, workshops, libraries and other facilities will "create a climate of fear and intimidation that results in a hostile working environment inimical to the open and free exchange of ideas necessary to advance academic learning and achievement," according to the senate resolution against AL HB12. James Goldstein, senate chair-elect and English professor, wrote and presented the resolution.
"I'm sure many of you share my concerns about this bill," Goldstein said. "I personally would feel less safe in a classroom with concealed handguns."
A new Texas law will allow students 21 and older to carry guns on campus, provided the firearms are fully concealed. This law has sparked a nationwide discussion, Goldstein said, and the University senate must act quickly to oppose the bill.
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Colorado, Idaho and Utah also have laws that allow people with concealed carry permits to bring guns on to campuses of public colleges and universities, according to ArmedCampuses.com, a website created to lobby against allowing guns on campuses. Mississippi also allows guns on campus, but only by individuals who have "enhanced" training.
Jung Won Hur, educational foundations, leadership and technology senator, spoke on behalf of the education department.
"Several faculty members came to me this morning and shared great concern about this gun policy," Hur said. "On behalf of our department, we would like to express that we believe allowing guns on campus would create hostile and unsafe learning and working environments. We strongly support this resolution."
The resolution passed with 89 percent of the vote. Senate officers will now discuss how to effectively voice the faculty's concerns to the state Legislature, Goldstein said.
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