Anita Sarkessian Speaks Out About Gun Issues Related to Cancelled Event

The gun laws on Utah’s college campuses is coming under fire after last week’s cancelled event at Utah University. Feminist, Anita Sarkessian was forced to cancel a speaking engagement when she received a threat that there would be a mass shooting if the event took place.

Utah University wanted to follow through with the event with the presence of extra police officers in attendance. The university rejected Sarkessian’s request to have students checked for guns because the state of Utah actually prohibits colleges to take away concealed weapons from permit holders. Given the seriousness of the threats and the fact that Sarkessian has been subjected to continued harassment, there was no question that the event should be weapon free  regardless of students having permits for weapons or not.

Sarkessian told the Associated Press, “It’s sort of mindboggling to me that they couldn’t take efforts to make sure there were no guns in the auditorium that was threatened with guns and a mass shooting. I don’t understand how they could be so cut and dry about it.”

The university stated in an email on Wednesday that they would not allow students to bring backpacks and that added plainclothes officers would be in attendance. Utah University officials defended their decision to add extra security rather than pat down students and disallow guns at the event. Spokesman Tim Vitale said, “We feel that security would have been sufficient.”

There are currently seven states that allow concealed weapons on campus and is the only state that has a separate law that prohibits schools for not allowing weapons at on campus events.

Some lawmakers are concerned that this incident with discourage speakers from accepting invitations to speak at events at college campuses in Utah. State lawmaker, Carol Spackman Moss spoke out against the issues and says that she hopes to stop the law that prevents colleges from disallowing weapons. This will be a difficult hill to climb considering that Utah has a Republican dominated Legislature.

Sarkessian called the situation “ludicrous” and said that she was both frustrated and disappointed by how the issue was handled. “It was a threat about a school shooting that used very specific statements about the types of guns – and it’s unacceptable,” she said.

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