It’s difficult to discern what the Kansas Board of Regents hopes to accomplish with its “in-study depth” of how the new state law allowing concealed carry of handguns will affect higher education institutions.
The regents discussed the issue at Valley Falls during their annual retreat Tuesday. Chairman Fred Logan said the regents need to study if there are areas on campuses where concealed carry shouldn’t be allowed, such as at athletic events or in classrooms or certain laboratories.
The new law allows licensed concealed carry on public college campuses. The board had opposed this expansion of permission to carry handguns, but to no avail with the Legislature. The schools have taken advantage of an immediate six-month exemption.
So have many cities and counties around the state. And there’s a provision for extending the exemption for four years.
But, again, what do the regents hope to accomplish with their study? Are they intending to look individually at 850 or more buildings on campuses and then propose to try to declare them, one by one, open or closed to pistol-packing individuals? What a nightmare that would pose to law enforcement, as well as licensed gun-holders!
The regents themselves seem a bit split on the entire concealed-carry philosophy, with some apparently willing to allow handguns in classrooms but perhaps not in arenas and stadiums where crowds gather for sports.
Tempers, they should be reminded, can run high in any area, classroom, laboratory, office or fieldhouse.
Rather than trying to manage this difficult law, the regents should, uh, stick to their guns and join other institutions in lobbying the Legislature to reconsider the measure. Those under the capitol dome should acknowledge they’ve made a mess and get busy cleaning it up.
As Regent Ed McKechnie said, “Just because the Legislature has done something wrong, I don’t know that I want to go along with that.”