Associated Students of UNM has blocked a proposal to allow people to carry stun guns on campus property.
At its Wednesday meeting, ASUNM ultimately decided against Resolution 3S, a piece of legislation backed by three self-described conservative student organizations - Young Americans for Liberty at UNM, Young Americans for Freedom and UNM College Republicans - and introduced by Senators Andrew Pierce, Ben Maggard and Randy Ko.
“We are doing our best to try to represent student wishes, trying to submit this resolution in hopes that we will better represent student wishes and allowing them [to] be able to defend themselves,” Pierce said.
Pierce made it clear that the policy would allow stun guns - not tasers - on campus. The two are often confused for each other but are different, he said.
“The big difference is that taser guns fire two probes to complete a circuit of [an] arc of electricity through the assailant’s body, then causing the assailant pain and spontaneous muscle contractions. The hand held stun guns create an arc of electricity that is often enough to deter an attacker alone,” Pierce said.
Senator Bisaan Hanouneh, who voted against the resolution, said the background facts do not support the legislation.
“Talking about why this resolution - not the idea, but the resolution itself - is not ready to be passed; the biggest reason is it doesn’t support its reasoning. The data says a lot about the crime that happens on campus, how the number of aggravated assaults have increased, and all these different increases of crime that [are] happening, but they don’t actually say how the stun guns will help that. There is no information backing up saying that, yes, [stun guns] will help these problems occurring,” she said.
During discussion of the resolution, Maggard, who had been the instigating senator for the resolution, withdrew his support, citing lack of research.
“We have not yet gathered enough information from the student body. I do not feel this legislation fits the opinion of the student body and do not feel comfortable passing this legislation,” he said.
Senator Justin Cooper, who opposed the resolution, said the 21 people in the student organizations sponsoring the resolution are not enough to represent the views of the thousands of students attending UNM.
Members of Young Americans For Liberty at UNM reacted to Cooper’s comment with a Facebook post that evening, in which they decried the senator’s remarks as hypocritical.
“Associated Students of the University of New Mexico Senator Justin Cooper made a comment during debate on the Stun Gun Resolution that has been communicated back to me, apparently Young Americans For Liberty at UNM and our partner organizations don’t matter because there’s ‘only 21 of the sponsors of us’ (there are more than that in YAL alone),” according to the post. “There are ‘only’ 20 senators in ASUNM, many of which were not elected to their positions. Screw the minority right?”
Young Americans for Liberty, Young Americans for Freedom and UNM College Republicans have since begun a campaign to remove Cooper from ASUNM. A rally will be hosted today in Smith Plaza at 11 a.m. Representatives for the three groups also wrote letters to the Daily Lobo about the experience; those can be found on page 5.
Denicia Aragon is a staff reporter with the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org on Twitter @dailylobo.
Jyllian Roach contributed to this article.