Currently, there are only five states in the nation where the concealed carry of guns on university campuses is permitted by law. Come July 2017, concealed carry will also be allowed on the Kansas State campus.
K-State faculty and students are currently warned at the entrance of every campus building about the prohibition of weapons on campus, as directed by the Kansas Board of Regents’ policy.
The policy states, “To the extent allowed by law and except as otherwise provided herein, the campus of each state university shall be weapons-free.”
Because of a Kansas law, the K-State Weapons Advisory Work Group has drafted a new policy, which would allow the possession of concealed guns on campus.
After a forum in September, the work group sent the revised weapons policy draft to Interim President Gen. Richard Myers for review. In October, the amended K-State weapons policy will be submitted to Kansas Board of Regents for approval. And finally, on July 1, 2017, the current exemption in state law for Kansas universities will expire, and concealed carry on campuses will begin.
Elizabeth Dodd, professor of English, does not support the law.
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“I feel that I am being treated as a participant in an experiment that I don’t choose to participate in,” Dodd said.
She described the policy as a “gamble,” relating to the possibilities and scenarios in which accidents may occur. The law will not require students or faculty to have training or a permit to possess a concealed gun on campus.
Dodd said there is a hazard of guns being kept inside backpacks, which are usually placed on the floor in the aisle of other students’ paths. She also challenged the effectiveness of stopping a shooter on campus when students are not required to take proper training of gun usage themselves.
“It seems to me that the stress on students is often enormous: academic stress, financial stress, emotional stress, relationships,” Dodd said. “A campus is often a place that is emotionally intense. Again, I think it is a dangerous experiment to bring guns into that atmosphere.”
Dodd said changes will be made regarding her own accessibility to students.
“I have an open-door policy,” Dodd said. “I am available to the university community — that will stop.”
Lt. Brad Millington, an officer in the K-State Police Department, was asked how his job as a police officer would be affected and if there would be any changes. Millington said there will be no changes concerning police. There will not necessarily be tighter security on the campus.
As far as his personal thoughts on the issue, he said he simply views the law as law, and does not wish to argue for or against it.
Rose Micke, sophomore in chemistry, said the law could make campus safer.
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“It has the potential to make people more comfortable with the fact that if there was an on-campus shooter, there’s more people that can bring them down as opposed to just campus security,” Micke said.
She said she supports concealed carry in every situation and said the new policy will be more helpful than harmful in self-defense.
The new gun policy has not been fully implemented yet, but people of Riley County are still applying for concealed carry licenses. According to Kansas Concealed Carry Handgun Database Reporting updated on July 5, there were 1,926 applications submitted from Riley County.
In 2015, Kansas passed a concealed carry law allowing people who are 21 or older to carry a concealed weapon in public without a license or permit.