University of Tennessee Celebrates Constitution Day

“A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, should not be infringed.”

— Second Amendment

Tuesday, September 19, was designated Constitution Day at the University of Tennessee this year. According to the campus calendar, this longstanding tradition marks the 229nd anniversary of the signing of our founding document at Independence Hall.

Students celebrated by registering to vote, signing a mock document, and also engaged in an open discussion with two university professors and UT Police Chief Troy Lane.

The Baker Center for Public Policy is also currently holding a competition with the University of Florida to see which school can get the most students to register to vote. Currently Tennessee leads by a count of 1297 to 793.

During the open forum, political science professors Dr. John Scheb and Hemant Sharma explained their perspective of our Constitution while also discussing the modern applications of some of our Bill of Rights such as the second amendment.

“Like most of the provisions in the Constitution . . . the second amendment lends itself to many interpretations,” said Dr. Scheb. “I would argue it’s really impossible to say whether any of those interpretations are correct.”

The right to bear arms has been a hot topic on Rocky Top due to a recent state law passed in Tennessee that allows full time faculty members to legally carry firearms on college campuses, with some restrictions.

“Any full-time faculty member may openly carry a firearm on campus as long as it is in their immediate possession, they have obtained a permit through the Tennessee Department of Public Safety and they have registered their weapon with campus police,” said Police Chief Lane.

Students were encouraged to voice any concerns they might have during the deliberation, however, most were in support of the new addition to state law.

The purpose of the new law is to contribute to the safety of the general public. Professor Sharma pointed out that faculty members that are carrying on campus are not encouraged to pursue any active shooters, but instead to protect those around them should a situation arise.

Professor Hemant Sharma
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