At the age of 5, I was given my first gun. It was a Daisy BB gun. Since then, I have shot and handled more powerful and more intimidating guns. Every time I pick up a gun, whether it be one I have shot hundreds of times or something new, I hear the same stream of words in my head that my dad told me the day he gave me my Daisy:
“The gun can be dangerous if handled incorrectly,” he said. “Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction and always treat the gun as if it is loaded, even if you know it is not. All guns need to be treated with respect.”
I believe that “gun control” is knowing how to control a gun. It is constantly knowing and understanding how to correctly use and treat whatever gun is in your possession. It is the ability to use common sense.
The Kansas Board of Regents policy on weapons possession states that a weapon is, “any object or device which will, is designed to or may be readily converted to expel a bullet, shot or shell by the action of an explosive or other propellant.” It continues with more specificity as to what a weapon is considered to be.
I understand the need for a weapons policy in regards to campus safety, but I do not think a policy will hold a shooter back from their intent.
In 2013, a provision was created where colleges and universities in Kansas could not prohibit people carrying concealed guns unless a building has “adequate security measures.” The institutions governing boards can request an exemption prohibiting concealed weapons for up to four years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
K-State has not had a change in the weapons policy since 2009, and concealed carry or open carry is not allowed on campus. I have always felt safe on campus with the exception of walking alone at night. I am grateful for the universities’ safety apps, LiveSafe and Wildcat Walk, but neither makes me feel safer when walking on campus alone at night, even with a police officer next to me. If I were up against someone with the intent of killing or hurting me with no sort of protection of my own, there is no doubt in my mind I would lose that fight.
As of Wednesday, Kansas adults are allowed to carry concealed handguns, loaded or unloaded, after the Senate endorsed legislation. Kansans do not have to obtain a state license or participate in a firearms safety course beforehand, according to The Topeka-Capital Journal. I believe that K-State should follow in this legislation’s footsteps.
I would feel safer if I was allowed to carry a gun on campus. Although I may not ever have to use it, having a gun as personal protection would make me feel a lot safer. The minimum age for open carry in Kansas is 18 years old. There is no reason I should not be able to exercise my right when walking on state ground or university property.
Jena Ernsting is a freshman in agricultural communications and journalism.