"too dangerous" http://media.www.emorywheel.com/media/s ... 5856.shtml The College Republicans are accusing College Council of discrimination and political bias after a funding proposal for a trip to a shooting range was rejected Wednesday. College Council President Daniel Berger said the Council's unanimous decision not to fund the outing stemmed from the danger of dealing with weapons. He said the Council wished to avoid setting a precedent for sponsoring that type of activity. "We think anything that builds community is great," Berger said. "But we have a responsibility that we're not going to be funding things that could hurt people." College Republicans Chair Lee Tittsworth said it isn't the Council's place to make funding decisions based on political agendas. "We're supposed to encourage diversity on this campus," he said. "But apparently when it comes to the Second Amendment, it doesn't apply." Berger said that while the recent shootings at Virginia Tech were not a determining factor, the incident was still at the back of legislators' minds. "We had a vigil [for Virginia Tech victims] on Monday and now we're supposed to fund this on Wednesday?" he said. Tittsworth, who said that the funding request was submitted a week before the shootings, said the trip is an important step in educating future and current gun owners. He added that appropriate safety measures would have been taken. Tittsworth said the College Republicans now plan to ask University President James W. Wagner and the Board of Trustees to allow concealed weapons to be carried on campus. The idea was first proposed by nationally syndicated radio show host Lars Larson, on whose show Tittsworth appeared on Thursday night to voice his concerns with the Council's decision. Student leaders from the other end of the political spectrum have also come to Tittsworth's defense. In an e-mail to the College Republicans conference, Young Democrats Vice President Derek Kettner wrote, "I contest this event is a positive influence. ... It stresses that people can still use guns, safely, and that the focus of the tragedy is the violator, not the weapon. ... The [Virginia Tech] violence is in no way connected to the proper and legitimate use of firearms." Berger said the Council's monetary code restricts funding the purchase of tobacco, alcohol and livestock. "Ammunition falls along the lines of those three things," Berger said. He added that at least in the last 12 years, the Council has not funded activities involving weapons. Tittsworth wrote in a press release that "the College Council has a record of discriminatory and political voting against conservative causes." But Berger disagreed and said the Council routinely funds the College Republicans and has sponsored events featuring conservative speakers, like former Attorney General John Ashcroft, political commentator Robert Novak and author David Horowitz, all in recent years. "Factually, it's unfounded," Berger said. "Some organizations think we favor some clubs over others, but the numbers show otherwise." In addition, he said College Republicans seek Council funding more often than other political groups, and that as a result they receive more total funds for events like conferences. College Council Vice President Elizabeth Farrar added that during Wednesday's meeting the Council approved funds for the College Republicans to update their website. College Republicans Communications Chair Matt Danzig criticized the use of University funds to bring Black Panthers founder Bobby Seale to campus last semester. Seale is known for his advocacy of violence to achieve political ends. "If we can justify bringing Bobby Seale to campus using the Student Activity Fee, then we are more than justified to go to a shooting range to practice responsible shooting," he said. College Council is now sponsoring a bill to ban funding for any event involving weapons. They will vote on the bill two meetings from now, in the fall. But Berger said the proposed change would only affect the Council's monetary code, which is not binding. "It doesn't forbid people from requesting money for [events like a shooting range outing]," he said. College sophomore Benjamin Van Der Horst, a senior legislator on the Council, said he voted against funding the event not for any political reason, but because of the danger involved and because of the precedent it would set. "I support their rights to go to the shooting range, but I do not feel it is appropriate for Emory students to fund such a trip because of the danger it poses," he said. Van Der Horst, also a Wheel columnist and managing editor of the Emory Political Review, said the Virginia Tech shootings had no impact on his decision. "This would have been rejected three months ago," he said. "If this had come from any other organization, or if it had been for any other activity that would put students in danger, I'm sure we would not have funded." Tittsworth disagreed with the Council's justifications and argued that he adequately answered their concerns about timing and safety at Wednesday's meeting. "There is no rule that they cannot fund bullets or firearms," Tittsworth said. "Proposing legislation after the bill is like arresting somebody and then four months later addressing why they had arrested them."