In Kansas, concealed carry laws prohibit people from bringing any firearm or weapon into a public building, which includes every building on K-State’s campus.
Recently, a bill was presented before the Kansas Senate that contained a proposal forbidding “no firearms allowed” signs on public buildings unless there is some kind of visible security. If the bill would have passed, the security in place would have monitored and prohibited every potential weapon entering the building; however, the bill the Senate did not pass it.
“Those legally licensed by the state should have the option to carry for self-defense,” said Robert Auten, state director of Kansas Students for Concealed Carry and assistant registrar at K-State.
Auten believes that a sign will not stop an attacker.
“There is no sign, that I am aware of, that has stopped illegal firearm usage,” Auten said.
As an example, Auten stated that in Aurora, Colo. there was a “no firearms allowed” sign posted at the movie theater where an attacker illegally used firearms in the July shooting.
Students for Concealed Carry is a new student organization at K-State that helps educate students and faculty about concealed carry laws and weapons and educates students about gun myths.
“Usually people already have their mind made up,” said Andrew Seufert, president of the club and senior in parks management and conservation. “There’s usually no middle ground.”
They are trying to change laws on a state level, not campus policies. The state of Kansas determines who can carry a legal firearm and the attorney general determines gun-free locations and where signs are posted, such as entries to campus buildings.
Some students believe that there is no need for students to carry weapons with the K-State Police Department around.
“There is no reason for students to be allowed to carry guns to classes,” said Taylor Applegate, sophomore in management information systems. “Campus already has their own police force to handle any activity that happens, and I don’t feel as though students should try to take a situation into their own hands.”
Students may also feel concerned for their safety if firearms were allowed on campus.
“I would not feel as safe,” said Craighton Carey, senior in Spanish and kinesiology, adding “I know that many others would feel very unsafe too.”
“Knowing that there were loaded guns around me on campus without being able to see them would bother me extremely and put me on edge,” Applegate said.
Although the state of Kansas has not shown any inclination toward giving people with concealed carry licenses the ability to carry on college campuses, other states have done so.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures website, “Five states now have provisions allowing the carrying of concealed weapons on public postsecondary campuses. These states are Colorado, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah, and Wisconsin.”