College Student peaceful protest April 21

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College Student peaceful protest April 21

Postby johnharris » Mon Apr 28, 2008 1:30 pm

Tennessee Firearms Association, Inc.
Legislative Action Committee



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UT students protesting gun laws
Empty holsters meant to symbolize ban on weapons on campus

By Darren Dunlap
Monday, April 21, 2008

If you notice students sporting empty holsters on the University of Tennessee campus today, it's likely the sign of a protest, not a lost handgun.

The students wearing the empty holsters are protesting state laws and campus policies that prohibit concealed handgun carry license holders from carrying on campus, said Nathan Robinson, a UT senior.

The protest is a peaceful, nationwide protest by a nonpartisan organization called Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, he said.

By Robinson's description, it'll be a quiet affair. Students won't be carrying signs or banners, nor will they attempt to "disturb the peace."

"It's a week-long protest," said Robinson of Lenoir City. "It's not something where you pick a place and stand with picket signs."

The activity will be limited to students wearing empty holsters, T-shirts and passing out fliers, he said.

Robinson is in the process of getting his permit to carry a handgun. He thinks there are a lot of misconceptions about the state's concealed carry permit laws, something he's discovered in talking to others about the subject. It's not so that the carrier can act as a policeman on campus, he said. It's for self-defense.

"The only time you're authorized to shoot is when someone is attacking you," he said.

The protest comes during a semester in which state lawmakers discussed and voted down a bill that would have allowed faculty and staff at public postsecondary institutions to have a handgun on campus if they have a valid carry permit.

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, and state Sen. DeWayne Bunch, R-Cleveland, failed to get enough votes in March in a House Judiciary subcommittee. Campfield said higher-education officials with the University of Tennessee and the Tennessee Board of Regents didn't support it.

He plans to bring the bill back for consideration next legislative session.

Overall, the number of violent crimes decreased by 7 percent from 2004 to 2007 on the state's campuses, according to a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation "Crime on Campus" report released this year.

A breakdown of violent crimes shows six more aggravated assaults in 2007 in comparison to the previous year. There was one murder case in 2007. Reports of rape increased from 21 to 25. Robberies dropped significantly across the state's campuses, from 45 incidents reported to 26.

The total number of offenses for all crimes went down from 8,425 in 2006 to 7,371 in 2007 on Tennessee college and university campuses.

"Reported crimes occurring off campus continue to increase," TBI officials noted. "This change may be attributed in part to the increased awareness of law enforcement departments to identify college students who are victims of crime occurring off campus."


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johnharris
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