Gun rights advocate to speak on campus Tuesday


Daily Egyptian file photo

By Amelia Blakely

SIU’s chapter of Turning Point USA, conservative nonprofit group, is hosting a gun rights advocate to speak on campus Tuesday about feminism, the Second Amendment, racial issues and free speech.

Antonia Okafor will give her address from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Student Center as a part of her “Be emPOWERed” tour.

Turning Point USA’s goal is to educate students about their rights, said SIU chapter founder Samantha Wilson, a senior studying biology from Gurney.


Wilson said the organization will never endorse a political candidate or party, and its beliefs align closest with libertarianism.

“We don’t talk about social issues,” Wilson said. “Social issues can get really dividing.”

Free speech, fiscal responsibility, free markets, low taxes and small government are all topics the group tends to discuss, Wilson said.

Though many group members identify as conservative or libertarian, Wilson said its members’ political views vary on the spectrum.

“Each month we have a different theme for what we talk about,” Wilson said.

In August, the theme was “Live Free,” which focused on the government’s role in the lives of individual, Wilson said. September was “Smashing Socialism,” relating to the benefits of a free market, and Wilson said in November the RSO plans for the theme to be “Thankful for Capitalism,” to coincide with Thanksgiving.

October’s theme is pro-second amendment.


Okafor, a second amendment supporter, describes herself on her website as a conservative millennial graduate student at the University of Texas at Dallas.

In 2015, Okafor became the Southwest Regional Director for Students for Concealed Carry on Campus and successfully advocated for the Texas law amendment known as “Campus Carry.”

According to the amendment to the law S.B. No. 11, a license holder can carry a concealed handgun while on campus on private or public higher education institutions in the state of Texas.

The amendment also prevents any institution in the state from adopting any regulations that prohibit license holders from carrying handguns.

Wilson said she supports “Campus Carry” because she believes everyone has the right to defend themselves.

“People who have them legally and go through the legal processes typically aren’t the ones causing these mass hysteric issues,” Wilson said. “Criminals are going to break the law no matter what.”  

Wilson said universities should welcome people with different opinions to come speak on campus and should  encourage students to go and listen.

“Part of college and the college experience is being exposed to different ideas and it’s one way to do it,” Wilson said.

Staff writer Amelia Blakely can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @AmeilaBlakely.

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