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Staff, Faculty and Students Testify on Guns on Campus Bill

Juneau campus Student Senate president Callie Conerton, Sociology faculty Lora Vess and Web Coordinator Colin Osterhout expressed concern that Senate Bill 174 would make UA campuses less and not more safe. The University of Alaska opposes the bill, saying it, “significantly impacts UA’s ability to manage firearm risk proactively.”

Assistant Professor of Sociology Lora Vess testified, “My concern is that the legislative response with this bill is not reflective of any systematic understanding of the roots of violence on university campuses.  Instead, I am concerned that this bill is ideologically driven with a narrow conceptualization of freedom and liberty that has nothing to do the operations and needs of Alaska’s universities, or of the safety of the thousands of students, faculty, staff, visitors, and minors who are on Alaskan campuses on any given day.”

Student Senate President Callie Conerton expressed concern that Alaska has no required concealed carry permit. “There is no guarantee that said person knows how to safety operate a firearm, is in the right state of mind, or has not had charges filed against them in the past,” said Conerton in her testimony. “This doesn’t even begin to touch on the fact that students would be able to have firearms in the dorms where their roommates or visitors would have easy access to a weapon and could operate the firearm when under the influence.”

In a letter to SB 174 sponsor Pete Kelly, Juneau campus based web coordinator Colin Osterhout wrote, “I view this bill as an unnecessary attempt to hastily enforce partisan beliefs upon the University of Alaska without sufficient research, deliberation, or public input from all stakeholders.”


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