The University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s College Republicans (CR) hosted an empty holster protest to unite students in favor of allowing students to carry weapons on campus on Monday, Oct. 30.
The CR encouraged its members to wear holsters and also held a tabling event on Pedestrian Walkway as a way to reach out to other students and share their ideas.
“We are advocating for students being able to carry on campus and protect themselves,” CR President Alex Swisher, said, “We are really just trying to raise awareness about the issue, and we have also taken to social media and have tagged some state legislators letting them know this is something students want.”
The organization wants to promote Second Amendment rights while also educating people about the gun laws within the state and country. During the protest, students who participated were open to answering questions about gun laws to better inform their peers.
UTK senior and member of CR, Brad Wade, shared his story as to why this issue matters to him.
“Whenever I was 15, I was actually a victim of an armed robbery. I had to look down the barrel of a criminal’s gun for what seemed like a lifetime but was actually only five minutes,” he said. “I don’t want to feel that feeling of absolute helplessness again. I was with my mom and my girlfriend, and I want to be able to protect them no matter where I am at. I think bad things can happen anywhere, so why not let people who have good intentions have guns. The people who have bad intentions are going to ignore the carry laws.”
Janey Green, vice president of the CR, said she wants to be able to carry on campus when she turns 21.
“Next year I am going to be turning 21, and I am going to be getting a concealed carry license and a new gun,” Green said. “I want to be able to carry on campus because I will have gone through all the legal necessities to do so elsewhere so it is a violation of my rights for it to be taken away just when I’m on campus.”
The organization also mentioned that with the scare of sexual assault on college campuses, they want to feel safe and protected going around campus especially at night.
“If this is an issue that is important to you, I encourage you to go to VolLink and sign up to be a College Republicans member,” Swisher said. “You do not have to come to every single meeting to say you are a part of College Republicans. Whatever is important to you, we are here to help. Part of the reason we are doing this campus carry protest is because it is an issue that is important to students.”
Featured image by Webmaster102, courtesy of Creative Commons
Edited by Kaitlin Flippo