UT Martin Student Government Association Passes Campus Concealed Carry Resolution

The University of Tennessee at Martin Student Government Association passed a controversial concealed carry resolution Thursday night in a 17 to 10 vote of the Student Senate.

Titled “A Resolution to Allow Students to Lawfully Carry Concealed Weapons at the University of Tennessee at Martin,” the resolution was at the center of campus controversy last month that involved a threatening letter to its supporters written anonymously by a UT Martin faculty member.

On November 3, The Tennessee Star reported that “Officials at the University of Tennessee at Martin confirmed . . . on Friday that a faculty member has been placed on leave for writing a threatening letter to the student sponsors of a controversial Student Government Association resolution that would allow students to have constitutional concealed carry privileges on campus, pending the passage of enabling state legislation.”

Later that same day, “The chancellor of the University of Tennessee at Martin issued a statement late Friday identifying Dr. Charles Bradshaw, associate professor of English, as the author of an anonymous letter that contained threats of violence against the student sponsors of a Student Government Association resolution to allow students concealed carry privileges on campus,” The Star reported.

Four days later, on November 7, “In an exclusive interview with The Tennessee Star, Tommy A. Thomas, District Attorney General for Tennessee’s 27th Judicial District, explained his decision not to prosecute University of Tennessee at Martin associate professor of English Charles Bradshaw over a letter he wrote anonymously that contained threats to students promoting a resolution to allow students to concealed carry on campus.”

Earlier this week, on Tuesday, the UT Martin Student Government Association held a campus wide referendum vote on “Campus Concealed Carry for Students.” Conducted almost entirely online, UT Martin students were asked three questions, one of which was the following:

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: Students with a legal Tennessee concealed carry permit should be allowed to carry a concealed firearm on campus?

Fifty-five percent of the students who participated in the referundum (776 out of 1,413) disagreed with that statement, while 45 percent (637 out of 1,413) agreed with that statement.

You can see the responses to all three questions posed in the referendum here.

Despite the results of the advisory referendum showing a majority of UT Martins oppose the campus constitutional carry proposal, the Student Senate resoundingly passed the resolution two days later.

“I am very proud of the UT Martin Student Government Association for passing S.R. 1708,” Alex Joyner, a member of the Student Senate and co-sponsor of the resolution, told The Star.

“Passing this resolution shows that our senators are forward thinking, as this is not a question of if, but when, campus carry is passed in the state legislature, or even at the national level,” Joyner continued, adding:

You may ask, how can you pass legislation that is to the contrary of the opinion of the referendum? The argument of the referendum is simple. If the referendum had been broken down by college, we would have known exactly how to vote. Since this was not the case, we could only go by the opinions of our constituents, via direct interaction. This being said, the senators who voted in favor of this legislation voted based on their constituent requests.

“No matter the outcome of Tuesday’s referendum, I still maintain that constitutional rights aren’t up for debate,” Joyner concluded.

The passage of the campus concealed carry permit resolution by the Student Senate has no effect of law, since Tennessee law currently does not allow campus concealed carry for student permit holders, and the UT Martin State Senate has no impact on Tennessee law.

The resolution’s passage may not be merely symbolic, however.

Members of the Tennessee General Assembly may take up a similar legislative proposal in the session the begins in January, and the desires of the UT Martin State Senate, as expressed in Thursday’s resolution could influence whether or not the state legislature decides to consider the proposal.


The Tennessee Star received the following communication on Sunday morning:

I just wanted to add one thing to the UTM concealed carry resolution. While it has passed the Senate, it still requires the President’s passage or veto.

I am the SGA President at UTM. I will be making my decision within the next two weeks.

Thank you,

Jordan Long


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4 Thoughts to “UT Martin Student Government Association Passes Campus Concealed Carry Resolution”

  1. Cannoneer2

    I am a graduate of UTM, and I support the SGA resolution.

  2. Shaina T. Camien

    The student body did not want this. The senators who gain political resume builders did and are featured in this article as going against the student’s concerns. I encourage you all to help us, UTM’s student body, gain back the voice they have lost on this campus and reform our student government that blatantly speaks against us. Sign our petition below so our voice can and will be heard! Thank you!
    We held a referendum on campus, that the students requested, and we voted that we felt very safe on this campus and believed guns were not needed and would only make in more unsafe, ma’am. We are currently rallying support from our community and student body who believe that SGA’s primary motivation is to represent the student body’s will, and they’re apparent failure to do that. I’d like to encourage you to help our voice be heard again on this campus and sign our petition below.


  3. Randall

    If criminals can carry guns everywhere they go why shouldn’t law abiding citizens be able to?

  4. 83ragtop50

    A wise student government body. A rarity these days.