Those threatening holsters

Emphasis mine in story below.

First off, it’s been my experience that most people don’t notice my holster at all, empty or not.

Does the Brady Bunch really think “allowing concealed handguns … increase gun violence…”? No.  They know it’s simply speculation on their part, and speculation not based in logic.  Oh, I’m sorry; I used “Brady Bunch” and “logic” in the same sentence.  We’re talking about people who HAVE concealed carry permits, and who are not breaking laws if they do carry. Tennessee prohibits carry of firearms on college property; fortunately Virginia does not, with the exception of one school.

This administration believes wearing an empty holster can disrupt campus activities.  Like a mass shooting won’t????

Sherlin needs to realize students are free to use THIS method of protest, if they so choose.  They are adults, and can choose to take responsibility for their actions, or they can play “Mother, May I” for the rest of their lives.  Or is it “Freedom of speech is a key to a marketplace of ideas, but we’ll regulate the wares.”
Will ETSU students have to holster their planned rally?

By Sam Watson
Press Education Writer

An “empty holster” demonstration to promote campus firearm possession is getting a second look from East Tennessee State University administrators after they initially warned a student club that participation could result in discipline.

“I was real happy to hear that they’re reconsidering that,” Jay Adkins, a vice president in ETSU’s Marksmanship Club, said Monday. “I was surprised at the reaction that I got, because right off the bat, it was a reaction of, ‘No, this can’t be done. It’s inappropriate.'”

Club members had approached administrators about their intentions to on empty holsters for a national event organized by Students for Concealed Carry on Campus to support legislation that would allow permit holders to carry concealed handguns on college campuses.

On its Web site, the national group cites last spring’s deadly Virginia Tech rampage and the 1999 Columbine High School massacre as reasons for the movement.

“After such tragedies as Columbine and Virginia Tech, it is abundantly clear that the only way to stop mass murderers is to have responsible citizens in the classroom and on campuses able to carry their licensed handguns,” the site states.

Opponents, including the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, argue that allowing concealed firearms on campuses would dramatically increase gun violence risks to college students.

ETSU administrators originally shot down the idea of local participation in the empty holster demonstration, informing Adkins that any student seen wearing an empty holster on the campus would face discipline for disorderly conduct. Anyone who refused to remove a holster would face further sanctions for failing to cooperate with institutional officials.

In an e-mail to Adkins dated Wednesday, ETSU Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Joe Sherlin also noted deaths on other campuses as reason for the administration’s position.

“Particularly in light of recent campus shootings, wearing a firearm holster on the campus can be intimidating and unreasonably disturbing to others and can create a disruption to campus activities,” Sherlin wrote.

But on Friday, Sherlin said administrators were re-evaluating the original ruling and doing more research for a final determination.  Attorneys at ETSU and its governing body, the Tennessee Board of Regents, were involved.

“That was our initial response out of the box, but we continue to gather information on it and are in consultation with legal counsel on it even further, and we have decided that we need to take a look at it,” Sherlin said.

Sherlin said the administration’s main concern was how others might react to seeing empty holsters at ETSU.

“There’s a potential to create disturbance on the campus,” he said. We have individuals coming in and out of campus. It’s a possibility that they could be disturbed by someone in a holster. They would not know if they have a firearm, and that could create a disruption.”

Regardless of the administration’s decision about the empty holster demonstration, Sherlin said, club members would be free to use other methods to express themselves on the issue.

“The request to have the protest has never been in question,” Sherlin said. “They’re free to protest on the campus and make their cause known, distribute literature. The only issue that’s in question is the request to use empty firearm holsters.

Freedom of speech is a key to a university as a marketplace of ideas. It happens all the time, and that’s part of what we’re about.”

Adkins characterized his intentions in approaching the administration as a courtesy rather than a request.

“I didn’t feel that we really required permission, but I wanted to be up front,” Adkins said. “If somebody were to have concerns, we wanted the administration (and) we wanted campus safety to know what was going on so that things couldn’t get escalated unnecessarily.”

Although he spoke of that potential for escalation, Adkins said he did not consider the administration’s concerns about disruption legitimate, given the Marksmanship Club’s intentions of publicizing the empty holster campaign.

“We were going to have flyers all over campus,” Adkins said. “We were going to be getting the word out that this was going to be happening. So, this was not going to be just students showing up one day with holsters.”

He dismissed the notion that students, employees and campus safety officers would have difficulty  differentiating between an empty holster and a real threat.

“I would think if someone saw a holster, they would look and see there’s not a gun in there,” he said. “If it’s not in the holster, it would be in your hand. If they see a gun in your hand, that’s going to raise an alarm.”

Adkins had a similar take on how people on campus would differentiate between someone carrying a weapon for protection and someone with harmful intent, saying campuses would be no different than shopping malls and other locations where permit holders can legally carry firearms.

We just want our rights to extend on the campus just like all of our other rights do,” Adkins said.

Apparently, freedom of speech doesn’t extend to campus either.

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