July 17, 2013. Appalachian State University, along with several other UNC system schools, drafted a proclamation in opposition to the House Bill 937. The bill would allow handguns to be in concealed compartments of cars on university campuses, provided that the handgun owner has the proper license.
The proclamation was sent to senators and representatives in the North Carolina General Assembly earlier this morning.
The Appalachian State Student Body President also released a personal letter to members of the House and Senate regarding his concerns with HB 937’s legislation. Below are both the proclamation and the personal letter of concern
To the North Carolina General Assembly,
As Student Body President of Appalachian State University I do not stand in support of House Bill 937. The Office of the Student Body Presidents feels that this bill will increase the threat of gun violence on campus and encourage those on university grounds to take the law into their own hands. As a student of Appalachian, I feel safe when walking around on campus. My peace of mind is constantly reaffirmed by seeing the police officers who work diligently to ensure my safety as well as my constituent’s safety.
As of now, Appalachian State does not permit the use of handguns on campus- in classrooms, vehicles, or residence halls. I am confused as to how this bill will improve security on campus for students, faculty, staff and other community members. I do not understand why the present laws in place for possessing a handgun do not suffice. Ultimately I do not feel that it is within the university’s best safety interests to allow a handgun in vehicles on campus.
I support UNC President Tom Ross’ opposition of this bill in which he has stated, “vehicle break-ins are one of the leading crimes on college campuses, and even guns brought lawfully onto campus, as contemplated by this bill, could fall into the wrong hands and result in serious injury or death.” Another concern of mine is tailgating, as guns and alcohol consumption will be mixed together. I find this to be deeply troubling and concerning.
I also call upon the recent tragedies our nation has endured in the name of gun violence. As a country we have had far too many instances in which innocent educators and students have lost their lives to gun violence. I feel that this proposed legislation will offer a gateway for such instances to occur on our own campus.
The present handgun laws implemented at Appalachian State have kept this university safe, and we feel that will remain true if house bill 937 is not passed. My administration and myself stand behind the Chancellors of the UNC System, the President of the UNC System, the Police Chiefs of the UNC System, and the municipal Police Chiefs in opposing this provision in HB937. We respectfully ask that the General Assembly remove this provision from the bill during conference.
G. Dylan Russell, Student Body President
Student Government Association
Appalachian State University
STUDENT GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION APPALACHIAN STATE UNIVERSITY
AN OFFICIAL MEMORANDUM FROM THE OFFICE OF THE STUDENT BODY PRESIDENT
To: The North Carolina General Assembly
- G. Dylan Russell, Student Body President, Appalachian State University
- Robert Nunnery, President, Association of Student Governments
- Timothy Schwan, Student Body President, East Carolina University
- Stefan Weathers, Student Body President, North Carolina Central University
- Leigh Whittaker, Student Body President, University of North Carolina at Asheville
- Brady Nails, Student Body President, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
- Crystal Bayne, Student Body President, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
- Emily Ashley, Student Body President, University of North Carolina at Pembroke
- Joseph Blankinship, Student Body President, University of North Carolina School of the Arts
- Parth Thakker, Student Body President, University of North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics
- Bryant Bell, Student Body President, Winston Salem State UniversityWHEREAS, UNC is a multi-campus university which is comprised of sixteen university campuses and one constituent high school dedicated and devoted to providing higher education in a safe environment; and,
WHEREAS, In their study published in the Stanford Law Review, Yale and Stanford law professors Ian Ayres and John J. Donohue III contend that “one must acknowledge that there are both costs and benefits to either allowing or prohibiting the carrying of handguns, and the task for the scholar is to try to determine which effects dominate;” and,
WHEREAS, The International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, Inc., (IACLEA) in its position statement on Concealed Carrying of Firearms Proposals on College Campuses notes that “it is concerned that concealed carry laws have the potential to dramatically increase violence on college and university campuses that our Members are empowered to protect. Among the concerns with concealed carry laws or policies are: the potential for accidental discharge or misuse of firearms at on-campus or off-campus parties where large numbers of students are gathered or at student gatherings where alcohol or drugs are being consumed, as well as the potential for guns to be used as a means to settle disputes between or among students. There is also a real concern that campus police officers responding to a situation involving an active shooter may not be able to distinguish between the shooter and others with firearms;”  and,
WHEREAS, President of the UNC system, Tom Ross, said “all UNC chancellors and chiefs of police believe allowing guns on campus would increase the risk to public safety and hamper our ability to protect not only our students, staff and faculty, but also campus visitors including parents, siblings of students, and summer camp participants. Vehicle break-ins are one of the leading crimes on college campuses, and even guns brought lawfully onto campus as contemplated by this bill, could fall into the wrong hands and result in serious injury and death;” and,
WHEREAS, the police chiefs of the 17 UNC campuses oppose the provision of House Bill 937 that would allow handguns on our campuses, as they believe that passage of the bill would increase the risk to the safety of the students, faculty, staff, and visitors, stating that the potential risk to those on campus far outweighs the convenience to concealed-carry permit holders; and,
WHEREAS, Public Policy Polling surveyed that 69% of North Carolinians are not in support of concealed weapons on campuses: and, now, therefore, be it
PROCLAIMED, that the Student Body Presidents believe that concealed handguns would detract from a healthy learning environment; that more guns on campus would create an additional risk for students; that shooters would not be deterred by concealed carry permit holders; and, concealed carry permit holders are not required to have law enforcement training; and, now therefore, be it
PROCLAIMED, that the Student Body Presidents of Appalachian State University, the Association of Student Governments, East Carolina University, North Carolina Central University, University of North Carolina at Asheville, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University of North Carolina at Pembroke, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, University of North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, and Winston Salem State University oppose the provision of House Bill 937 which allows guns on our campuses, as it does not promote the safety and well-being of our respective constituents.