By Trevor Graff
Several students at the University of Kansas are critical of a recent bill allowing the concealed carrying of firearms on campus.
The bill, to be heard by the Kansas House of Representatives, allows concealed carrying in public buildings, including Kansas college campuses, that lack metal detectors and proper security personnel. Many opponents of the bill cite expenses and immaturity as reason for keeping guns off of Kansas campuses.
“While I support the policy in general, I think the current safety precautions combined with the pressures of being a college student render conceal and carry on college campuses both unnecessary and potentially dangerous.” University of Kansas sophomore Sondra Moore said.
Many students say current security forces make concealed firearms unnecessary.
“Measures are consistently being taken to ensure that college campuses stay as safe as possible,” Moore said.
Conceal and carry does garner some support on campus.
“I am in favor of upholding the second amendment and therefore I would be in favor of concealed carry in all Kansas public buildings; even buildings on campus.” University of Kansas senior David Elliott said. “It does get sticky and I can definitely see both sides of the argument, but statistics show that campuses that allow concealed carry report less crime.”
Those in favor of the bill say the stringent licensing process of the current concealed carry law ensures only qualified gun owners can legally conceal a firearm.
“If a gun owner is mature enough to go through the permit process, enter the service, and actually make the investment to buy a gun, he is mature enough to carry the gun wherever he pleases in public,” Elliott said.
College campuses aren’t the only public entities affected by the bill. Government Buildings would also be required to increase security.
“People have an expectation of safety when in these buildings, and certified law enforcement should be the only people carrying weapons,” says Greg Mills, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism officer. “While there is a possibility lives could be saved by someone licensed to carry, it may only compound the problem.”
When conceal and carry licensees are present, Officers entering public buildings face deciding whether a shooter is a criminal or licensed to carry a weapon. Often this situation ends in tragedy, Mills said.
Although the bill has stirred debate, many are skeptical of the costs and possible dangers involved.
“I honestly don’t think the bill will pass,” Elliott said.