Senate debates gun violence resolution

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The ASUW Student Senate was tense Tuesday as senators debated the gun violence resolution bill first brought to the floor last meeting.

The resolution seeks the acknowledgment of gun violence in Washington state from legislators in hopes there will be changes made to laws surrounding gun violence in the state.

The resolution passed the off-campus issues committee to be moved on to the next phase of senate proceedings regarding the bill.

The sponsor of the bill, Alex Davidson, brought the resolution to the senate because of his strong feelings surrounding gun violence, especially after the recent mass shooting in downtown Seattle that left seven injured and one dead.

Gabe Symer, student senator, spoke up in opposition to the resolution, arguing that if implemented, guns wouldn’t be taken away from cops killing unarmed civilians or from far-right militia groups. 

Rather, the people affected would be those of marginalized groups, like his friends in the LGBTQIA+ community or Jewish people like himself who keep watch at their synagogue every week.

“The state has had plenty of cause to take guns away from white supremacists in the past and they never have,” Symer said. 

The senate snapped their fingers in appreciation of Symer speaking up. He was followed by senator Camille Hattwig who took a different stance on the issue.

Hattwig wanted to redirect the understanding of gun violence in the senate. With the heavy publicizing of mass shootings and hate crimes, people ignore the fact that a woman is more likely to die when a gun is present in the house.

"Domestic violence is really the center point of a lot of gun violence in the United States, and women owning guns still increases their likelihood to die by guns,” Hattwig said. “Additionally, suicides attempted with a gun also significantly increase a person’s likelihood to die, and I really want to emphasize that.”

“The fewer guns we have in this country, the safer we will be,” she added.

With these concerns, a few senators still voiced issues of how general the resolution was. Senate membership coordinator Lukas Illa said that there is an over militarized police and government that would still possess their firearms while they’re taken away from citizens and that, according to him, is the wrong angle to take.

“Gun violence is not simply about the person who shoots and the person who is shot,” senate vice speaker Bryn Sinclair said.

Sinclair said they were on campus when the shooting in downtown Seattle happened, taking them three hours to get home because southbound transit was stopped.

“These are the things that impact student lives, especially those that live off campus, and even if I was not someone who was directly impacted by this shooting, I think that we can call on our representatives to make better policies about how we respond to these,” Sinclair said.

The senate adjourned, leaving the issue up for continuing amendments and debate in the next meeting, and then potentially voting on it. 

Other Notes

- ASUW director of university affairs Sam Akeyo joined the senate Tuesday to talk about establishing a transfer student task force to help better accommodate transfer students on the UW campus and was looking for a liaison to the task force. The senate had two candidates and voted to appoint one of them to the task force.

Reach reporter Stevie Riepe at Twitter: @StevieRiepe

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