One Kansas Student's Reasons for Carrying

"You see all this stuff on the news about people getting killed and having no way to protect themselves. That is why I choose to carry.”

Kansas begins its first school year as a campus carry state.
Kansas begins its first school year as a campus carry state.photo from theodysseyonline.com

Kansas’ new campus carry law went into effect on July 1, meaning this will be the first school year during which students, who are over 21 and legally allowed to own a firearm, will be permitted to carry on college and university campuses via the Kansas Personal and Family Protection Act.

As always happens, there was an uproar when the law passed and as the enactment date drew nearer, like this professor at Wichita State University, who resigned the day the law went into effect because it was “in opposition to the values of higher education.”

But for one student at the University of Kansas laid out the reason he has chosen to carry at school very clearly in this story from kansascity.com.

Tom, who did not disclose his last name so as not to become a target for anti-gunners, or someone who might want to steal his carry firearm, is a 21-year-old business major who carries a Glock G19 in his backpack, in a holster, as per state law. The story says he keeps it loaded with a 15-round magazine, but the chamber is empty, also per state law. He told the paper it makes him feel less vulnerable and more prepared.

"I mean, I'm just a normal student who cares about their safety and the safety of people around them," he said in the story. "You see all this stuff on the news about people getting killed and having no way to protect themselves. That is why I choose to carry."

One professor at his school, Kevin Willmott, in an extreme overreaction, plans to wear a bulletproof vest during the first week of classes in protest (from the photo, it looks like he needs to put some plates in that vest).

Kevin Willmott, University of Kansas professor of film and media studies, wore a bulletproof vest to class this week in protest of the state's new campus carry laws.
Kevin Willmott, University of Kansas professor of film and media studies, wore a bulletproof vest to class this week in protest of the state's new campus carry laws.photo from kansascity.com

“Try to forget I’m wearing a bulletproof vest and I’ll try to forget that you could be packing a .44 Magnum,” Willmott reportedly said to his students on the first day of class.

He doesn’t seem to realize that anyone around him, at any time when he’s in public, could be carrying a firearm.

Kansas is the eighth state with campus carry laws, including Arkasas, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Idaho, and Colorado.

Because Kansas is a constitutional carry state (a permitless concealed carry law was passed in 2015), the campus carry law has come under additional scrutiny, because it does not require any kind of permit.

"Being in a blue county in Kansas, there are not many gun-friendly people here," Tom said in the story. "So, I wasn't worried about there being 10,000 students on campus carrying guns. I knew it would be fairly limited."

“The way I look at it personally is, if I can (carry a concealed handgun) and I already have the gun, why not? Take it with me just in case something were to happen. I mean, you never know what is going to happen with all the violent incidents that have been happening over the past few years at colleges and other schools,” he said.

The story says Tom encountered many protesters during the spring semester asking for the law to be overturned and for guns to be banned.

"I don't think they should be against it," he said of his fellow students in the story. "Because if something were to happen, the people who are against it would be protected by the people who are carrying."

He added that, a law banning guns on campus is not going to stop an irrational person from committing an irrational ,criminal act.

“With this new law here I feel safer,” Tom said, “not just because I carry. … I also think that it creates some sort of deterrent for people who could be planning to do something. They could be thinking, ‘Well, these people have guns. So if I go in there and do something, I might get killed in the process.’”