Campus concealed carry law passes first year in effect, policy violations recorded at K-State

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After concealed carry of handguns on Kansas college campuses became legal on July 1, 2017, the Kansas State Police Department has filed no criminal cases regarding the presence of handguns on campus. However, there have been two policy violations.

Lt. Bradli Millington, K-State Police’s public information officer, said over email that there has been “one policy violation that was handled by Human Capital and one policy violation where the individual in question could not be found.”

The policy in reference states that secured and holstered handguns must be completely hidden under clothing or in a bag and are to only to be used for self-defense. Gun owners must have complete control over their weapon at all times; dropping, openly carrying or intentionally showing off a gun violates the policy and state law.

Under Kansas Statute 48-959, which prohibits “[requiring] registration of any firearm for which registration is not required by state law,” K-State cannot quantify or identify individual gun carriers on campus.

Student body president Jordan Kiehl, senior in industrial engineering, said the only way the university can know if someone is carrying a concealed weapon is “if their gun is shown, which is an immediate violation and would be handled as such.”

In a 2015 survey of K-Staters published by the Docking Institute, about 40 percent of students preferred allowing concealed carry in campus buildings while approximately 60 percent preferred a complete ban on guns.

Kiehl offered reassurance to those who say they feel uncomfortable with Kansas’ gun regulations and may feel unsafe at school.

“Fear can sometimes stem from a lack of information, so knowing what your rights are as a student, either carrying or not, can help to alleviate some of that worry,” Kiehl said via email. “Also, to never be afraid to report a firearm if you see it out. … The best way to ensure safety for yourself in the presence of peers who may be carrying is to have a conversation with them and try to understand their perspective.”

Kiehl said university and community programs are available to students who do and do not carry.

“K-State’s policy has done a thorough job of being inclusive to both gun owners and those who don’t carry,” Kiehl said. “There are also programs in the community certified to teach students how to use handguns safely. K-State offers ALiCE training to educate students on how to react to an active shooter on campus. There is no such thing as being too safe, so we must constantly strive to ensure that students are educated, trained and responsive to campus safety precautions.”

According to the National Conference for State Legislatures, all 50 states allow some form of concealed carry, while 16 states ban concealed carrying on college campuses. Kansas was the first state in which carriers did not need to go through training to earn any kind of permit to carry a concealed weapon on a campus.

Kiehl said she believes it is “imperative” that those who carry guns on campus “treat the decision with great responsibility and are trained to do so.”

“It is my opinion that the state standards to conceal carry must be higher to ensure greater safety of Kansas residents,” Kiehl said.

Anyone can report policy violations regarding concealed handguns by directly calling K-State Police at 785-532-6412 or by using the LiveSafe app.

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