Has anyone ever forced their unsolicited agenda upon you, seemingly out of the blue? If you live in modern society, almost certainly this has happened to you. Personally, I find there is almost nothing more irritating than someone regurgitating random accusations about a subject and being immovable on that position. Similarly, I am bothered by a recent incident at my university where the administration did just this and decided to completely overrule a new state law and threaten punishment if caught following the law, but breaking the “University Policy”.
On August 27th, the University of Tennessee Federal Credit Union branch located in the University Center was robbed by a masked individual claiming he possessed a bomb. You may, at this point, be wondering what this has to do with campus carry. Truly, this particular incident had very little to do with firearms, at all. Even Chief Lane, Chief of Police at the University of Tennessee Police Department said, “I am told there may have been an erroneous local media report that the suspect was armed with a gun. The suspect was not in fact armed (other than with a package he claimed was a bomb), and this was never reported by this department.” So, then, why did the University of Tennessee feel the need to send out an email to all students, faculty, and staff reminding us that “The university’s Code of Conduct prohibits students from “possessing, using, storing, or manufacturing any weapon or facsimile of a weapon on University-controlled property or in connection with a University-affiliated activity, unless authorized in writing by the Chief of Police or his designee.”?
The new Tennessee state law, mentioned earlier, reads “Handgun Permits – As enacted, allows persons with a valid handgun carry permit to transport and store a firearm or firearm ammunition in the permit holder’s privately-owned motor vehicle in public or private parking areas under certain conditions. – Amends TCA Title 39, Chapter 17, Part 13.” Bill Summary
Upon passing of the bill and the recent incident on campus, the University of Tennessee further stated in their anti-firearm email, “As you may know, a new Tennessee law – often referred to as the “Guns in Trunks” law – went into effect on July 1, 2013. This note explains the impact of the law on UT students. In accordance with an opinion issued by the Tennessee attorney general on May 28, the Guns in Trunks law does not affect the university’s Code of Conduct for students. “Possession” also means having a firearm in one’s personal vehicle. There is no exception to this university policy for a student with a handgun carry permit. For more information on this student policy, visit the Hilltopics student handbook page at http://dos.utk.edu/hilltopics/ and download the 2013-2014 issue of Hilltopics. An explanation of the policy is located on page 15. Penalties for violating the Code of Conduct range from warnings to probation, suspension, and dismissal from the university. More information on Code of Conduct penalties are on pages 18 and 19 of the Hilltopics student handbook.”
The state of Tennessee has approximately a 1 in 15 ratio of carry permits to population. The University of Tennessee has an average age of 21 yrs. and total enrollment of approximately 29,000. So, we’re faced with less than approximately 1,000 students eligible to have carry permits. Unfortunately, what the University of Tennessee is telling us is that the administration is more concerned with disarming the law-abiding citizens who carry firearms to protect themselves and their peers than they are about deterring criminal activity.
How does a state-funded university refuse to recognize a state law that empowers people who obtain a state-issued permit? This is one of the questions that keeps me awake at night. I challenge you to contact your state legislators in regards to this common issue.