Re­gents OK uni­ver­si­ties’ con­cealed carry poli­cies

Schools’ safe stor­age plans ap­proved

The Washington Times Daily - - NATION - BY MAR­GARET STAFFORD

KANSAS CITY, MO. | The Kansas Board of Re­gents on Wed­nes­day ap­proved poli­cies for how the state’s six pub­lic uni­ver­si­ties will im­ple­ment a state law al­low­ing peo­ple to carry con­cealed guns into cam­pus build­ings start­ing July 1.

The re­gents, with lit­tle dis­cus­sion, ap­proved the plans that spell out univer­sity poli­cies on the safe stor­age and han­dling of hand­guns. Stun guns to be used for self-de­fense also will be al­lowed, but Tasers — which fire pro­jec­tiles and are gen­er­ally more pow­er­ful than generic stun guns — won’t be.

The law says uni­ver­si­ties can ban guns from build­ings that have se­cu­rity mea­sures in­clud­ing metal de­tec­tors or se­cu­rity guards, but those mea­sures are costly, so con­cealed guns would be al­lowed in nearly all cam­pus build­ings, in­clud­ing at sport­ing events.

Here are some ques­tions and an­swers about the Kansas law:

What is chang­ing?

Repub­li­can Gov. Sam Brown­back signed a law in 2013 re­quir­ing con­cealed carry of hand­guns to be al­lowed in all pub­licly owned build­ings un­less the own­ers pro­vide ad­e­quate se­cu­rity to pre­vent any­one from bring­ing weapons in.

Cities, coun­ties and pub­lic col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties were al­lowed to ex­empt them­selves un­til July 1, 2017.

Who will be al­lowed to carry con­cealed weapons on cam­pus?

Any­one over the age of 21, in­clud­ing stu­dents, fac­ulty, staff and vis­i­tors. Kansas does not re­quire peo­ple to have a li­cense or train­ing to carry a con­cealed weapon. The uni­ver­si­ties’ poli­cies in­clude re­stric­tions for those who are un­der the in­flu­ence of drugs or al­co­hol, men­tally ill or those with felony con­vic­tions.

The poli­cies also state that any­one car­ry­ing a con­cealed weapon on cam­pus must be in con­trol of the hand­gun and keep it se­cure on his or her per­son when it’s not in use.

Con­cealed hand­guns must be in hol­sters and hand­guns with an ex­ter­nal safety must have the safety on at all times. If the weapon is in a back­pack, gun or purse, those items must be on or in the hands of the per­son at all times. Hand­guns can­not be stored in any univer­sity class­room, of­fice or fa­cil­ity, in any res­i­den­tial unit that does not be­long to the gun’s owner, or in an un­locked or unat­tended ve­hi­cle.

Peo­ple who live on cam­pus must keep their guns in univer­sity-ap­proved stor­age de­vices.

Are there any re­stric­tions?

The poli­cies al­low for guns to be re­stricted in ar­eas that have no pub­lic ac­cess or re­quire en­try through key cards or spe­cial codes. So, for ex­am­ple, guns will con­tinue to be pro­hib­ited at a nu­clear re­ac­tor at Kansas State Univer­sity be­cause pub­lic ac­cess has al­ways been re­stricted there.

The poli­cies don’t cur­rently in­clude any build­ings that have se­cu­rity mea­sures that would al­low them to con­tinue to ban con­cealed guns. How­ever, uni­ver­si­ties could im­ple­ment per­ma­nent or tem­po­rary se­cu­rity mea­sures later and re­turn to the Board of Re­gents for permission to ban con­cealed guns from those build­ings.

Of­fi­cials have raised con­cerns about al­low­ing guns in ar­eas such with com­bustible ma­te­ri­als, such as chem­i­cal or en­gi­neer­ing lab­o­ra­to­ries that store pres­sur­ized gas cylin­ders and rocket fuel. How­ever, Kansas At­tor­ney Gen­eral Derek Sch­midt has said uni­ver­si­ties can’t ban hand­guns from those places.

Has there been any op­po­si­tion?

Fac­ulty and stu­dent or­ga­ni­za­tions at the uni­ver­si­ties have gen­er­ally been strongly op­posed to guns on cam­pus, and the Lawrence-based Kansas Interfaith Ac­tion has said it plans to lobby the Leg­is­la­ture to change the law in the next leg­isla­tive ses­sion.

Op­po­nents say al­low­ing con­cealed guns won’t make cam­puses safer. Some peo­ple are con­cerned that stu­dents and pro­fes­sors wouldn’t be com­fort­able dis­cussing con­tro­ver­sial sub­jects if they think there might be a gun in the room.

Sup­port­ers such as the Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion ar­gue that law­ful gun own­ers should be al­lowed to carry on cam­puses for self-pro­tec­tion. They ar­gue that hav­ing more law-abid­ing ci­ti­zens with guns could po­ten­tially de­ter mass shoot­ings or al­low by­standers to in­ter­vene to limit the deadly con­se­quences.

At least nine states — Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mis­sis­sippi, Oregon, Texas, Ten­nessee Utah and Wis­con­sin — have laws on the books al­low­ing con­cealed hand­guns on cam­pus.

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