According to college and university watchdog group Campus Reform, two University of South Alabama students were confronted by school police officers Wednesday for their participation in a Students for Concealed Carry in Alabama demonstration on school property. One student was reportedly cited for wearing an empty holster, which campus police say “caused alarm.”
“This week is the empty holster protest for Students for Concealed Carry in Alabama to demonstrate that students are defenseless on campus,” said D.J. Parten, president of Students for Concealed Carry.
The encounter, shown above in a video captured by Parten shows university of officers threatening to write up the participants in the protest for violating the school’s no-weapons policy, but later conceded an empty holster cannot be considered a weapon.
“What you’re doing is not against the rules or the law,” one of the officers explains in the video, “but when we get a call thinking somebody might have a gun, you have to be polite and cooperative, because if you start being difficult, [it looks like]you’re carrying something.”
Despite this concession, the officers returned later, citing Parten for violating two sections of the Student Code of Conduct, which state students may not “intentionally or recklessly misusing or damaging fire or other safety equipment; use or possession of fireworks or incendiary, dangerous, or noxious devices or materials which have not been authorized by University officials; or intentionally initiating or causing any false report, warning or threat of fire, explosion, or other emergency.”
But Parten rejects the University’s actions, saying “The right to self-defense shouldn’t end because someone chooses to get an education.”
“I was disappointed to see that the officers wanted me to stop my protest,” he told Alabama Today. “I will definitely fight the citation.”