SGA debates ‘strong’ gun opposition
Police chief endorses SGA’s proposed concealed, carry platform
Marcus Clem | copy editor
When Mike McCracken spoke to the Student Government Association on Wednesday night. He said allowing guns at Pittsburg State will make the campus less safe.
McCracken, university police chief, says that state legislation that could force the university to allow holders of state concealed-weapons permits to carry their firearms on campus will cause more problems than it will solve.
“We train really hard, we have a lot of training on possible shooters,” he said. “If someone with a concealed weapon would intervene, this would make our job harder. If we have multiple people with guns, we don’t know who is the bad guy.”
Thirteen new faces at SGA were among those who participated in an extended question-and-answer session with the chief.
McCracken went on to say that his position reflects that of the Kansas Board of Regents and his colleagues at police forces in the other public universities of Kansas.
Offering a rebuttal, Sen. Edwin Stremel, who is president of the Gorillas for Concealed Carry club, says that changing the law won’t affect Pitt State students.
“We estimate that 240 individuals (on campus) have concealed-carry permits, so, really we’re already all around you,” he said, adding that he believes McCracken’s argument that the job of university police will be disrupted is invalid.
“University police are regular cops,” he said. “There’s no reason that they should have special recognition in terms of concealed-carry law. Pittsburg city police enforce state law without any issues.”
Lara Ismert, SGA president, presented a resolution after the speeches that will require a two-thirds vote next week for passage.
This special provision is required because the resolution will be copied to Gov. Sam Brownback and Kansas legislative leaders, and uses the words “strongly opposes” to reflect what could become SGA’s official position on concealed carry on campus.
The primary business of SGA was to in 13 replacement senators. Fourteen people have been appointed to hold seats in the Senate until elections in April, but one person, Laina Willoughby, was absent Wednesday night and will be sworn in later.
The 14 are: Bryce Schuetz, Megan Pavlu, Austin Leake, Austin Bailey, Laura Carey, Alexander Ake, Nicholas Cusick, Rodney Kimlin, Viet Nguyen, Hannah Wooten, Laina Willoughby, Tadd Lucian, Grant Currier and Mark Nichols.
“I didn’t exactly know how things would go,” said Cusick, sophomore in accounting. “It was really cool to see things get done, unlike how our federal government works.”