Kansas Prepares for Campus Carry

School officials aren't in favor of the law, but a state legislator says the right to self-defense can't be denied.

School officials aren't in favor of the law, but a state legislator says the right to self-defense can't be denied.
School officials aren't in favor of the law, but a state legislator says the right to self-defense can't be denied.web photo

Beginning next summer, Kansas’ campus carry law goes into effect, allowing state residents to carry on all six state university campuses, along with dozens of community colleges and technical schools.

The law was broadly supported in the state legislature, according to this story from NPR, but hasn't met with the same acceptance from state professors and administrators.

Last July, a new law went into effect allowing Kansans to carry concealed firearms without a permit for the first time, granting residents 21 or older constitutional carry.

The law was written with the intent of keeping schools safe by allowing of-age students to defend themselves if needed.

Mike Williams, president of the University of Kansas Faculty Senate, says in the story that his colleagues are less worried about the possibility of an active shooter, and more about accidents and simple disagreements escalating between armed students.

Williams added that the fear of violence could discourage civil discourse, with students afraid to speak their minds “because of their worry that someone might react with armed violence instead of thoughtful debate.”

Schools were only allowed to opt out of the new law by installing metal detectors at every door and employing security guards, a prohibitively expensive measure, the story says.

The people at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City are particularly concerned about the new law, because of the high pressure environment and potential for confrontation.

"We have some vulnerable populations that are harder to protect," Girod says. In the event of violence, "we've got patients stuck in a hospital, they aren't going to get up and flee. We have children. We have pregnant mothers. The spectrum is very broad, so healthcare is certainly a unique environment."

"If you don't provide security, then you shouldn't deny the public's right to provide for their own," said Sen. Forrest Knox (R-Altoona) in the story. "That's the logic of the bill, OK, and nothing has changed in that, whether it's a hospital or not."

Knox said he’s willing to listen if officials at the University Medical Center complex want to restrict guns in the emergency room or patient rooms.

Kansas will be the eighth state to allow CCW carry on its public college campuses. The others are Mississippi, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Wisconsin, Utah, and Texas.