OPINION: Concealed carry should be decided by campuses, not the state

Signs like these on Kedzie Hall appear on many buildings on K-State's campus, informing people that concealed handguns are not allowed in the building due to the extension that is set to expire July 1, 2017. (File Photo by George Walker | Collegian Media Group)

As of July 1, 2017, anyone in Kansas over the age of 21 with a concealed carry license is permitted to carry firearms in academic and residence halls on college campuses. Personally, I think allowing students to carry firearms on campus is an accident waiting to happen.

With all the stresses of college life and the issues people face, giving students the ability to carry a firearm on campus doesn’t seem sensible. Many universities in the past have made the decision to allow students to carry on campus but with additional required training in order to do so.

To me, it seems like there’s not much of a chance that more training will change the mindset of someone who is planning on committing a violent crime, and if there were to be an attack on campus, having countless other individuals carrying firearms trying to take down the attacker could just cause more casualties by mistake.

Kansas is one of 12 states in the U.S. that allows concealed carry on college campuses. The legislation that was passed to allow this has made students and professors of universities uneasy, even, in some cases, causing them to leave their respective universities for fear of personal safety.

After talking with other students at Kansas State, I have come to the conclusion that more students feel uncomfortable about the law than are in favor of it. I talked to one student who had a peer in one of his classes stand up and announce that if he had a firearm, he would have opened fire on the class.

To me, this seems like a perfect example of why universities should not allow concealed carry on campus. There is no way to know what an individual is thinking or what is going on in their mind that could cause them to make an impulsive decision that would put students and staff at risk for their lives until it is too late and a tragedy has already happened.

I do not oppose the right for people to carry a concealed firearm to help them feel safer going about their day, but extending that law to college campuses seems reckless and puts students and faculty in more danger than having a weapon-free campus.

An argument for concealed carry on campus is that there are people who have grown up around firearms, are comfortable with them and know how to use them safely, but there is also a large percentage of students who have not been around firearms. Not knowing who has a weapon on them on campus could make students and faculty feel uneasy.

College can be a stressful time for a lot of students, and allowing guns on campus adds to that stress and anxiety. The decision to have concealed carry should be left up to the individual university, not decided by state legislation.

Max Leonard is a freshman in business and mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.