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SGA, students prepare for firearm forum

On February 19, 2013

The Student Government Association will sponsor a firearms forum in the Marshall University Memorial Student Center.

Robert Bookwalter, dean of the college of education, will lead the panel discussion about recent crimes in the area, police response, current gun regulations and the history of gun rights in America. The panel members will consist of Huntington Mayor Steve Williams, Chief of Campus Police Jim Terry, Marshall University Faculty and members of the State Legislature.

Adam Fridley, the SGA chief of staff, said there would be a question and answer session for students and members of the audience to ask questions or give general feedback after the panel discussion.

Its important to provide an opportunity to get feedback before making a decision that will affect our campus and student body, Fridley said.
Steve Hensley, dean of student affairs, said he supports the open forum format.

I think the student government is better off debating and talking about issues in an open forum, Hensley said. Talking about issues is a good way to learn, understand and share our points of view.

Hensley said he thinks the role of student government is to promote an interchange of ideas.

We held a discussion on tobacco where people came to express their views for student government to consider when making a decision, Hensley said. Some were happy and some werent happy, but everyone got an opportunity to express their views and I think thats what a democracy is all about.

John Price, senior political science major, said he is glad the forum is taking place.

Im pleased to see this dialogue happening on our campus given recent events, Price said. Its great opportunity for everyone to inform themselves on gun violence and what can be done to prevent it.

Connor Meadows, sophomore communications major, supports carrying weapons on campus.

I think we should be allowed to carry concealed handguns because there are thousands of students and only a few police officers and security guards, Meadows said. If a terrorist attack or armed person assaulted our campus, many people could become casualties due to our inability to defend ourselves.

Meadows said his experience with guns when he was younger makes him more comfortable with carrying them now.

People who are not privately or military trained often have a fear of guns because of their perceptions of guns as killing weapons instead of defensive tools, Meadows said. Im excited to see what decision is made.
The firearms forum is open to all students and members of the community, and will be Feb. 26, at 7 p.m., in room BE5 in the Memorial Student Center.

Kimberly Smith can be contacted at

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