COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The debate over gun laws on college campuses is at the forefront at Tennessee Tech University, after an unintentional discharge occurred in an administrator’s office.
According to University Police, a 9mm pistol went off while Dr. Kevin Braswell, the Vice President for University Advancement, was attempting to holster his weapon. The police report states Braswell said it was possible he accidentally pulled the trigger. The bullet grazed his pant leg and struck the floor.
Under state law, TTU employees can conceal carry on campus if “certain criteria and circumstances are met”. The University Chief of Police conducts interviews and each employee goes through a restrictive registration process if they want to carry a handgun on campus.
“Increasing the presence of firearms on campus unfortunately leads to these kinds of unintentional… and increases the danger on campus,” said Amanda Rosenberger, an employee at TTU.
Rosenberger is also a campus shooting survivor. She was a student at Bard College at Simon’s Rock in 1992 when a student killed two people and wounded four others with a semi-automatic assault rifle.
“I was 18 years old,” said Rosenberger. “The only reason why the carnage wasn’t greater is actually because his gun kept jamming. He actually saved a lot of lives quite unintentionally because he meant to take us all out if he could. He brought enough ammunition to kill us all.”
That’s why Rosenberger says she is now pushing for a change in state law which would prohibit all concealed carry on college campuses.
“I think sometimes people carry weapons anticipating the potential of a shooting, like the school that I survived. Unfortunately, the data don’t show that’s particularly helpful under those circumstances,” said Rosenberger. “I think, if you are going to carry a weapon on campus, you have to be extremely well trained. You have to have that conscientiousness that comes with carrying a deadly weapon, and you also have to do your job.”
Instead, Rosenberger says college campuses should solely be protected by law enforcement.
“I don’t expect that my fellow scientist, my fellow faculty member, my fellow staff member is necessarily going to be a tactical officer… so, I don’t feel safer on campus necessarily because they are armed, and I think that should be left to the professionals.”
In a short statement to News 2, University officials wrote:
“The university is aware of the incident and followed university policy to address the situation, but we do not discuss internal employment matters.”