University of Tennessee's Republican group pushes for concealed carry on campus

The University of Tennessee’s College Republicans on Monday pushed to allow concealed carry on campus, The U-T Daily Beacon reported.

Protesting what they see as the “disarming of innocent, defenseless students,” the students in the group went about their day wearing empty holsters.

Under Tennessee law, most full-time employees at UT are allowed to carry a concealed handgun on campus, as long as they possess a valid permit. Students are prohibited from concealed carry, Alex Swisher, the president of the group said. She said she believes the rule is unfair, the report said.

“Basically, the reason we chose to do it is because if you’re 21 and legally obtain a carry permit in the state of Tennessee, you’re still not legally allowed to carry on campus…so that really just doesn’t make sense to us why – if the state of Tennessee say that we are allowed to carry and we’ve gone through all of our background checks and we’ve gone through the classes and fingerprinted – the university is trying to take that right away from us.”

Swisher reportedly argued that most mass gun shootings take place in gun free zones and that the University of Tennessee is a gun free zone, implying that the students of UT are a “huge target,” and thus vulnerable to potential shooters.

The campaign comes in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting in which 50 people were killed and 500 injured when a gunman opened fire, from the window of his Mandalay Bay Suite, into a crowd of concert-goers. CR plans to continue their campaign to allow students concealed carry on campus through social media.  

“We are going to be tweeting at some state legislatures, letting them know that this is an issue that students feel is relevant and feel that this something they want on campus, especially in the wake of shootings in Las Vegas, Sandy Hook, Orlando. Those all too place in gun free zones and that could so easily happen on campus."