It may appear odd to some and evoke difficult thoughts for others, but members of the College Republicans will wear empty gun holsters as part of a protest against current gun restriction laws for university campuses in Ohio.
Beginning Monday, Feb. 4, through Thursday, Feb. 7, the College Republicans will have a table in the Student Union where they will pass out literature and raise questions about gun safety on college campuses.
Additionally, those involved in the protest will wear empty gun holsters while on campus to symbolize what they feel is a denial of constitutional and human rights.
“This is not just about mass shootings. It’s also about muggings and back alley crime. It’s about a person’s ability to defend himself or herself in any circumstance,” said Patrick Richardson, senior political adviser of the College Republicans.
According to members of the organization, the main objective of the protest is to raise awareness on the issue of guns and have UT students ask: What will make our school safe?
Members of the organization stress that it is important to go beyond emotion and critically examine statistics when making a decision.
“We have a great police force here on campus, but there’s only so much they can do,” said Scott Mazolla, chair of the College Republicans and the student in charge of the protest. “I hope to get people talking and thinking about gun laws and what will make our school safer.”
“Of course, there is a lot of coverage in the media and people have very strong opinions. I think it comes down to figuring out what will make our school safer,” said UT Police Chief Jeff Newton in response to the protest.
It is currently against state law to carry firearms on college campuses in Ohio.
On Tuesday, Feb. 5, the Student Senate will vote on a formal resolution in support of concealed gun carrying on college campuses. This resolution would not bring about any new legislation or policy change but simply declare Student Government’s support for concealed carry on campus for those individuals with proper certification.
The Student Senate meeting will be open to the public; it will take place during the Student Government meeting at 8:15 p.m. in Student Union Room 2592.
Students may view the proposed resolution and offer their opinions via the myUT portal through Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 4 p.m.