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Public debates guns on campus

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Ernie Somoza | The Daily Wildcat Ernie Somoza / Arizona Daily Wildcat Rob Rosinski, 24, Sophomore majoring in Civil Engineering, voices his opinion at ASUA senate meeting concerning arizona gun laws.

Last week's contentious resolution to oppose teachers carrying guns on campus has not ruffled as many feathers this week. Several students and faculty do not plan on attending tonight's public forum on the issue.


The Associate Students of the University of Arizona ruled in favor of hosting a public forum to allow students and faculty to voice their opinions regarding the state Senate bill, which would allow teachers to carry guns on campus. While some agreed the forum could be productive, many said they do not plan to give their opinion publicly.

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""We want to make sure to hear from as many people as possible,"" said Sen. Tyler Quillin. ""We're going to put the feedback and sentiments of our constituents into consideration.""


The forum is scheduled for tonight at 7 in the Santa Rita room of the Student Union Memorial Center, according to Sen. Stephen Wallace.


""I think it's good (to have the forum),"" said Natasha Brown, an equine sciences sophomore. ""But to me it's not important.""


Brown said she doesn't plan to attend the forum because she feels safe and doesn't see the need to raise the issue. She did say that it is important to have a public forum.


During last Wednesday's ASUA meeting, a handful of students came to protest the passing of a resolution which opposed the bill that would have allowed teachers with concealed weapons permits to carry guns on campus. The resolution also opposed allowing students to store weapons in their vehicles.


Although anyone from the public can participate in the forum, Quillin said it will be structured with an emphasis on students' opinions.


Andrew Mash, a pre-business sophomore, said nothing bad can come from having a discussion but added that he doesn't plan to attend either.


""It's a controversial issue,"" Mash said. ""It never hurts to discuss (those) in detail."" 


Mignon Harter, a nutrition and political science freshman, said students should get a say on the issue because it affects them, but like the others, she doesn't plan to attend.


""I think it is necessary for students to have a say,"" she said.


James Marrs, an electrical engineering junior said students should be able to voice their opinion, but he said he would not go to the forum because he doesn't think students can affect what happens at the state level.


Ian Cipra, a theatre arts freshman, said that it may be necessary to host a forum, but he fears it will become disorderly.


""I think it could turn into chaos,"" Cipra said.


Members of the unofficial organization Students for the Second Amendment do plan on attending the forum.


Attempts to reach any of the members were not successful by press time, but Rob Rosinski, the organization's president, issued this statement in an e-mail: ""People should have the same rights on campus as they do off campus, and anyone with a legal right to carry concealed firearms should be able to do so in the whole state of Arizona, including university settings.""


Faculty members seem to be equally mixed about a possible forum.


Francina Dominguez, a professor who teaches the class Introduction to Weather and Climate, has staunch feelings about not allowing guns on campus.


""I feel strongly about nobody carrying guns on campus, so if there is even a possibility of it (happening), I think it's necessary to have that discussion,"" Dominguez said.


Not all UA professors agree with Dominguez, at least in part.


William Beezley, a Mexican history professor, said he believes the university has more pressing issues.


""I think carrying guns on campus is such a violation of everything the university stands for,"" he said. ""It's unnecessary and a distraction from other major problems of today.""


Michael Shupe, an introductory physics professor, said he is not surprised guns are an issue in the state of Arizona, adding that he would not attend the forum either.


""Any other state in the union, I think it wouldn't matter,"" Shupe said. ""But because of the politics of this crazy state, I think it's important to have a forum.""


Bill Conant, a professor of atmospheric sciences, said he does not plan to go because he is too busy and that the issue is not high on his radar. He also said he doesn't think the forum will affect the state senators or the faculty member's decisions about guns.


""I find it curious that this is such a heated issue,"" Conant said. ""It's unfathomable that faculty would see the need to bring a gun to campus.""


ASUA members plan to deliberate over the comments and arguments from the forum. They will meet during their regularly scheduled weekly meeting on Wednesday to discuss passing the resolution.









 


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