SGA calls for change in campus concealed carry law

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The Kansas State Student Governing Association passed a resolution 38-18 Thursday evening that supports the ability for individual state universities to choose their policies on campus concealed carry.

In the bill, the Student Senate affirmed support for “amendments to K.S.A 75 allowing the CEOs of Regents universities in Kansas to individually determine the weapons policies of their own universities as it relates to concealed carry of firearms.”

Trenton Kennedy, senior in entrepreneurship and student body vice president, spoke in support of the bill, which he co-authored.

“I’m happy that the resolution passed,” Kennedy said. “It gives us, as a senate, a mandate to go advocate for local control. I support local control because it means the decision is being made closer to students. Student input is a lot more powerful at the university level than at the Legislature or at the Board of Regents.”

Wyatt Pracht, senior in agricultural economics and College of Agriculture senator, said he believes the decision on campus concealed carry should be left to the students.

“I believe it’s a good opportunity for students and for the voice of students to be heard,” Pracht said. “If the localized option is passed in the state Legislature in an amendment, it would give students the opportunity to be able to talk with university administration towards crafting a policy that would help the students.”

During the debate on the resolution, Michael Reichenberger, graduate student in nuclear engineering and graduate student senator, opposed the resolution.

“I honestly don’t think (the resolution) makes much difference, to tell you the truth,” Reichenberger said. “I had to stand up for not only my personal beliefs, but the beliefs of the constituents I was representing. The other graduate students that I work with feel very passionately about the current statute and we should be allowed to concealed carry and protect ourselves.”

Reichenberger said he doubted the resolution would make any substantial impact.

“I just don’t think that the resolution that got passed today is going to do anything to change the legislation at the state level,” Reichenberger said. “I recognize that it’s important that we express our opinions as a student body, but I think that there are bigger factors at play.”

Derek Cox, senior in management information systems, spoke against the resolution as a guest of the senate. Cox said that polls introduced during the debate did not necessarily represent the views of the student body.

“I do believe that many of our senators did vote the way that their constituents asked them to,” Cox said. ” I think there’s a silent majority on this campus that do support campus carry and do believe that it should be statewide legislation but maybe they didn’t vote when they should have. We only had 32 percent turnout, and I don’t think that’s very indicative of the size of K-State. We’re missing a huge chunk of the population.”

In other news

The senate created a Special Committee on Academic Competition Team funding.

The senate allocated $500 to the Harry Potter Alliance; $1,343.69 to the Vietnamese Student Association; $1,000 to the Sexuality and Gender Alliance; $1,000 to the International Tuba and Euphonium Association; $500 to the American Choral Director’s Association; $1,000 to Alpha Kappa Psi; $1,000 to the Institute of Industrial Systems Engineers; $1,000 to the Student Finance Association; and $1,000 to the National Association for Music Education.

The senate commended the Alpha Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Psi, Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran and Reps. Lynn Jenkins and Kevin Yoder.

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I'm Rafael Garcia, and I'm a 2019 K-State graduate in journalism and former editor-in-chief of the K-State Collegian. I believe that much of the world's problems come from a lack of understanding of other people, but by telling other people's stories and finding the good in the world, I think we can increase our understanding and appreciation of each other. Questions, comments, concerns, news tips? Email the Collegian team at news@kstatecollegian.com.