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Heated debate flares over off-campus gun storage legislation at ASUW Senate meeting

ASUW 11/29

The ASUW Senate held their second meeting of the quarter Jan. 17. Two pieces of legislation sparked heated debate. 

The gist: 

  • The sustainability resolution that passed last week was a no-go at the ASUW Board of Directors (BOD) meeting. 

  • A bill calling for the construction of off-campus gun lockers for students sparked an intense debate.

  • The senate continues to edit their internal organic act.

Nature Positive Pledge enthusiasts, you’ll have to wait

Vice Speaker Mario Falit-Baiamonte advocated for the passage of a resolution that would ask UW to commit to the Nature Positive Pledge at the ASUW BOD meeting Jan. 12. The board decided to table the resolution.

“Because of the fact that it involved an organization outside the UW, many members of board expressed they wanted to learn more about the organization and do a little bit more of their own research,” Falit-Baiamonte said. 

Falit-Baiamonte brought up the resolution at the Jan. 19 BOD meeting for the second consecutive week.

Legislation in support of student gun owners fails to pass 

Sen. Mitsuki Shimomura introduced LD-29-2, a bill calling for the senate to work with UWPD to build an off-campus firearm storage facility. Per the UW Student Conduct Code, students cannot carry guns on campus. The bill would specifically support those wishing to pick up and use their guns outside of campus.

“I hope this legislature and the UW will work together so that students who own guns can do so legally, safely, and responsibly, and participate in any activities that involve guns … such as hunting and shooting sports,” Shimomura said.

Outside of shooting sports, Shimomura stated that students, such as those that identify as Indigenous, may want to take part in their cultural hunting traditions. The statement faced immediate backlash from Sen. Victoria BearBow, who is part of the American Indian Student Commission. 

“To include that is performative and wrong,” BearBow said. “Tribes have their own specific rights to hunt on their own land.”

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Sen. Winter Roberts, along with other senators, poked holes in the legislation’s practicality.

“There have been a lot of shootings … around campus involving students this year,” Roberts said. “How do you plan to ensure that students cannot take their guns out to shoot people with them?” 

A vote of 32-17 tabled the bill indefinitely, although the door to enactment is still open; Shimomura could reintroduce the legislation in the future, but only after heavy editing. 

Rome wasn’t (re)built in a day 

The senate continued revising OA-29-20, an organic act introduced more than a month and a half ago by Sen. Ishan Ghosh-Coutinho. The act seeks to freshen up some of the ASUW Senate’s current bylaws and rules.

The main focus this time around was on the rephrasing of the vote of no confidence section.

“Standing committee chairs currently can only step down, and that’s the only way for the office to be vacated,” Ghosh-Coutinho said. “This is adding a procedure for a vote of no confidence of a standing committee chair. It’s pretty much new territory, which is why we’re studying the rules now.”

After a vote of 45-2 to update the specific section detailing the number of senators required to approve a vote of no confidence, the overall act was tabled to next week for more reworking. 

The ASUW Senate meets every Tuesday from 5 to 7 p.m. in Miller 301 and over Zoom. The link to the meeting can be found on their website.

Reach writer Shira Zur at Twitter: @shira_zur

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(1) comment


An interesting proposition. UW and the broader Seattle area hate gun owners. Gun storage is also against the lease. Purchasing an actual case is too expensive.

Roberts has it backwards. Students don't use firearms for shootings, criminals do. UW med employees get carjacked in the E18 lot, greek life gets assaulted with machetes and tasers, and surrounding businesses get robbed at gunpoint. How does Roberts ensure that people can defend themselves?

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