Archive for Wednesday, November 20, 2013

KU students, staff sound off on possibility of concealed carry of guns in campus buildings

November 20, 2013


Kansas University students pass by one of several chalk messages on campus Tuesday addressing the issue of allowing concealed carry permit holders to have guns on campus. The messages and a forum were organized by the KU Chapter of Young Americans for Liberty, whose members wore empty holsters Tuesday to protest the ban of guns on campus.

Kansas University students pass by one of several chalk messages on campus Tuesday addressing the issue of allowing concealed carry permit holders to have guns on campus. The messages and a forum were organized by the KU Chapter of Young Americans for Liberty, whose members wore empty holsters Tuesday to protest the ban of guns on campus.

For Kansas University student MaryRose Scarpelli, the question of whether people with concealed carry permits should be allowed to take guns into campus buildings isn’t black and white.

“I see the appeal, and I do believe in our right to bear arms,” said Scarpelli, a junior from Overland Park. “But I also would feel a little uncomfortable with someone sitting next to me with a gun in a holster in my archeology class.”

On the hill, comfort level varies when it comes to concealed weapons in university buildings. As university officials plan for a new law that will allow them, students and faculty members have strong views, falling on both sides of the debate.

In April, Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law a measure authorizing those who get licenses to carry concealed weapons into any state or municipal building except those that have “adequate security measures” such as metal detectors or trained guards.

Universities have been granted a four-year exemption. The Kansas Board of Regents has directed universities to conduct building-by-building assessments to address the impact of allowing concealed carry, a process expected to take the better part of a year.

KU has 199 buildings on the Lawrence campus alone, spokeswoman Jill Jess said.

“As the Regents have requested, we are analyzing the impact of the legislation and how we can best meet its requirements,” she said.

Challenging order

Students such as Chris Rice, an Overland Park junior, see a conundrum.

Rice didn’t like what he saw when he envisioned more than 1,000 students trying to file through a metal detector to get into a lecture class at Budig Hall. At the same time, he’s not OK with the thought of a fellow student in that lecture carrying a gun.

“I just think that would completely alter the learning environment,” he said. “I don’t see either as a really good option.”

The cost to install security in all university buildings would surely be too high to be feasible, so in a way it seems KU is being forced to allow concealed weapons, Ottawa junior Ally Bittner said.

“I think that the state has kind of put the university in an impossible place here,” she said.

Gerald Mikkelson, a KU Faculty Senate member, said allowing guns on campus would make it a more dangerous place. Even if concealed carry permit holders are trained in gun safety, he said, it still makes a violent incident involving weapons more likely.

Mikkelson, a professor of Russian, East European and Eurasian studies, said he personally thinks adding security would be worth it to keep guns out of campus buildings but acknowledged it could be an astronomical task.

“It’s a real bind the university is in,” he said.

A safer campus?

On Tuesday, campus-goers may have noticed a handful of people wearing empty gun holsters.

Those were members of the KU Chapter of Young Americans for Liberty, and they believe concealed carry should be allowed everywhere.

September’s Navy Yard shooting in Washington, D.C., and an ensuing tweet from KU journalism professor David Guth inspired Tuesday’s Empty Holster Protest, said Jacob Fox, the chapter vice president and a KU senior from Landenberg, Penn. Guth attracted national attention — and condemnation — when he posted this to Twitter after the Navy shooting: "The blood is on the hands of the #NRA. Next time, let it be YOUR sons and daughters. Shame on you. May God damn you."

Concealed carry proponents such as Fox argue that such mass shootings often happen in gun-free zones, including the Sandy Hook, Columbine and Virginia Tech school shootings. If allowed to carry guns, Fox said, law-abiding citizens could intervene.

“I don’t think anyone can argue the fact that America has a problem with these atrocities,” he said. “And as individuals we have the right to protect ourselves.”

Fox said he does not have a concealed carry permit and does not own a handgun. But he said his organization is passionate about second amendment rights, an issue that falls under their mission of “spreading liberty.”

The Young Americans for Liberty KU Chapter’s membership includes a number of non-KU students, including 19-year-old Kendon Brawner of Lawrence, who coordinated the protest.

Brawner — who also does not have a permit but hopes to get one when he’s old enough — highlighted another argument for allowing concealed carry. Training and education is required to get a permit.

“There’s multiple layers of security,” Brawner said. “These people know how to use their weapons. They’ve got a lot of rules to follow when doing this.”

‘I would be terrified’

KU professor and Faculty Senate member Jim Carothers said he doesn’t want guns anywhere on campus.

“I would be terrified,” Carothers said. “We have so many young people here who are under so many different kinds of pressure and who are in transitional, sometimes unstable, periods in their lives that the potential for danger is radical.”

KU Student Senate in January overwhelmingly approved a resolution opposing concealed carry on campus.

The resolution says concealed carry poses a threat to students and a distraction to the learning environment and that university and city police should be the primary decision-makers in a time of distress, said student body president Marcus Tetwiler, a Paola senior.

Tetwiler said Student Senate had not yet discussed new developments but that he hopes leaders will prioritize students’ opinions as they decide how to proceed.

“We as a body felt very strongly that this resolution was a progressive step to be used by our university administration as an example of what students think is right,” Tetwiler said. “I hope that the student voice is the one that holds the most weight because it’s our fears, it’s our opinions, that really matter in terms of safety in the classroom.”


Scott Morgan 4 years, 7 months ago

Just FYI, in another part of the country a few decades ago it was not uncommon me included to have a gun in the dorm. Not sure there was any "Special" rules about this with the exception of the thousands of laws out there at the time.

Memory plays tricks, but none of my buddies can even remember seeing other student's shotguns. Gun manners, or courtesy was followed. To us, they were no different than a fishing rod and reel, just a tool. Kept mine in the closet, bringing it out only for duck hunting. Also, we had an indoor rifle range on campus too.

My times have changed.

Bob Forer 4 years, 7 months ago

"Those were members of the KU Chapter of Young Americans for Liberty, and they believe concealed carry should be allowed everywhere."

wow, what an absolutely brilliant idea. Let's just go ahead and require everyone on campus to be armed. Then, with a perfect storm, we'll have a real live reenactment of the Shootout at the OK Corral. How's that for teaching our young adults a little history?

Mark English 4 years, 7 months ago

That makes literally no sense at all. Thanks for your input.

Jim Williamson 4 years, 7 months ago

I'd be interested to know who was the impetus behind this group. Whose agenda are they pimping?

Cille King 4 years, 7 months ago

They are the youth group for Americans for Prosperity, aka Koch brothers.

Bob Smith 4 years, 7 months ago

Ooooh, the boogey-men de jure have been mentioned!

MerriAnnie Smith 4 years, 7 months ago

Exactly, Jim. There are other incidents on college campuses elsewhere that take a bit different form on the same thing. Anything coordinated like that does not happen spontaneously.. There is some money behind this effort. My guess is that in time we will find this group that calls themselves Young Americans for Liberty are connected to all the groups around the country that are funded by the Koch boys in an effort to subvert democracy in this country. Of course, the NRA might be the ones who suggested it, though.

Terry Snell II 4 years, 7 months ago

Never a problem at Lawrence High school 1992 when every truck had a gun in the gun rack. I understand both sides views. We cannot ignore we have a problem with school shootings. If you hear gunshots going off on campus, would you want a student that has served in the United States military beside you with a gun? Would you want a student that has passed background checks and received training required by the Attorney General to be beside you with a gun? Its time for our country to wake up, schools and especially military bases. It makes me sick to think we have an unarmed military at bases. Fort hood should have never happened. The million dollar question. What is the difference between a $10 hour security guard in a uniform and someone that has passed all required rules to have a concealed weapon by the Attorney General? I understand that some people have not grown up around guns and are uncomfortable. Concealed carry means, you will not see it unless it is revealed in a life and death situation. Thanks and everyone have a great day.

Terry Snell II 4 years, 7 months ago

If you attend LHS and parked by the tennis courts, nearly every truck had a rifle. I was there and also had a .22 rifle in my gun rack. We were 16 and could not possess handguns. To carry concealed, you must be 21, meaning your an adult.

MerriAnnie Smith 4 years, 7 months ago

Terry, I'm 71, and have 3 college degrees, meaning I spent a hell of a lot of years on campus.

Not ONCE in all those years did I see a shotgun or a rifle on campus, not even in pickups. I would have noticed and remembered because I have always thought guns are too dangerous in most circumstances. Ever since a 10 year old tried to kill me with a loaded and unlocked shotgun when I was thirteen - because he was so sure it wasn't loaded.

It has only been in the last few years that my granddaughter graduated from college and she lived in the dorms her first few years. I spent time in those dorm rooms. Most of the students didn't even lock their bedroom doors, and none of their closets had locks on them. This was one of the Ivy Leagues where money flows like water. I doubt KU is any better.

Terry Snell II 4 years, 6 months ago

71 years old and you never seen a gun on campus in a truck. 1940's to 2013....I cannot imagine never seeing a gun in a gun rack.

Cille King 4 years, 7 months ago

I understand that when no one is allowed to carry a gun on campus, that anyone seen with a gun is breaking the law and should stopped by police. When concealed carry is allowed on campus, it seems that we need to stop any one, every one to see if they have a gun, and if so, do they have the proper permit. Are we just supposed to believe that one carrying a concealed gun has a permit?

Perhaps we should require all people with concealed carry permits wear a badge, emblem, arm band or something else so we know they are legally carrying a gun. After all, when someone bends over, has a open jacket, light weight clothing, etc, someone next to them is bound to see if they have a gun.

Mark English 4 years, 7 months ago

I foresee literally no changes in class or any student envoronment what so ever. No one will see anyone playing with weapons or pointing them at anyone. That is what this is all about. I would imagine that if an officer were to suspect a student with a gun that they can by all means ask for their permit and to inspect the weapon. As is the case already in this state and any other.

John Graham 4 years, 7 months ago

What about the swimming pools and Potter's lake on campus. Since statistically people are more likely to die from accidental drowning than accidental discharge of a weapon shouldn't the campus fill in the pools and Potter's lake?

John Graham 4 years, 7 months ago

Barbara, Your article is irrelevant to the topic. The article did not indicate the people involved were college students and based on their ages I doubt they are. The incident did not specify it it occurred on a college campus. Lastly and most importantly the article did not state the woman carrying the weapon had a concealed carry permit which requires some level of training. So the article very likely could be about someone illegally carrying a weapon that had an incident. That is not relevant to the current topic. You can not compare apples to oranges then state the outcome from an isolated apple event applies in general to oranges.

Steve Bunch 4 years, 7 months ago

In answer to your first two questions, "No."

John Graham 4 years, 7 months ago

Barbara, A risk is significant only if it becomes reality. So a risk of accidental shootings or increased suicides is of no significance unless you have data to prove that concealed carry actually results in increased accidental shootings and increased suicides. Or is your statement just hyperbole?

John Graham 4 years, 7 months ago

Where is your data that concealed carry, which is the topic, directly leads to accidental shootings and suicides? The article you use does not anywhere discuss concealed carry. If you are going to use a reference it should at least discuss the issue at hand. Also your "logical" opinion about accidental shootings is not based on any facts. You are the one that mentioned increased accidental shootings and suicides from concealed carry on campus yet you have not provided any actual data to back up your statement.

John Graham 4 years, 6 months ago

What you forget is the law states people are allowed to carry guns. Whether I agree or not the fact is they are allowed by law to do so. If you don't want guns on campus then you have the obligation to prove that having guns on campus will create undo risk compared to society as a whole where guns are allowed. You can't compare guns on campus to no guns on campus because that is not an equal comparison. You have to show that guns on campus make campus more dangerous than walking downtown Lawrence for example. I agree having a gun creates increased risk but the law is what it is. You can't have a law that allows something and then pass so many exceptions to the law that it makes the law useless. It is like tobacco use. I might not like it but it is legal in the US but they keep making more laws to try to effectively out law tobacco without directly outlawing tobacco. If society wants to outlaw it then outlaw it. Society has legalized guns so like it or not they are here to stay.

John Graham 4 years, 6 months ago

I disagree. Since guns are legal, people that want guns banned from campus have to prove that having guns on campus makes campus unduly at risk compared to the rest of the society. That is the question that will be decided in court when it gets to that stage. Society,against your wishes, has made guns legal so society has accepted basic risks associated with that. So to exempt a specific location one has to show that location is at undo risk because of the type of location such as a courthouse. So you have to show guns make campus more at risk than the general public areas in order to ban them. You have to provide compelling argument which you have not. You have argued guns make society as a whole more at risk, but you have not provided any compelling argument that indicates a college campus is more at risk than anywhere else.

John Graham 4 years, 6 months ago

So you say it is a conspiracy? Also I am pretty sure that autopsy reports do not state whether or not the gun was owned legally or not. Autopsy report simply documents what killed the person. You would expect it to say if a person died of a gun shot and whether it was self inflicted or not, but you would not expect any comment if the gun was legally owned or not.

John Graham 4 years, 6 months ago

An autopsy does not list whether the gun was legal or not. Your statement above was incorrect. A police report yes but an autopsy no.

John Graham 4 years, 6 months ago

Conspiracy does not have to be secretive. It simply can mean two or more people/groups plotting harm.

John Graham 4 years, 6 months ago

If you actually think "suicide is often a spur of the moment decision that would pass if one had just a few minutes to think it over", then you clearly do not understand depression and suicide attempts. While I might not often agree with you, that comment you made had to be the most uninformed statement I have ever seen from you.

John Graham 4 years, 6 months ago

If you think a blog post is evidence to support your statement then you don't have a clue what would qualify as legitimate medical evidence. It is not worth trying to explain it to you because you always dismiss anything that contradicts your ideas. But you don't have a clue on this topic and your blog reference is laughable.

Sam Crow 4 years, 7 months ago

If some of you people dont think there are guns being carried on campus now, you are very naive.

Concealed carry license holders must be over 21. That eliminates the vast majority of students.

For MaryRose Scarpelli, you would not even know someone sitting next to you had a gun, as it would be concealed. And the person would be licensed.

Gerald Mikkelson point has no logic. If it did a gun show would be the most dangerous place around.

Sam Crow 4 years, 7 months ago

I never wrote that more guns equals more safe. However, Mikkelson specifically said, "allowing guns on campus would make it a more dangerous place. Even if concealed carry permit holders are trained in gun safety, he said, it still makes a violent incident involving weapons more likely.", But that is a typical liberal tactic; deflect the issue to another point. Nice try.

I would also like to see the data on shootings at some of the thousands of gun shows held each weekend across most of the country.

John Graham 4 years, 7 months ago

Yes Barbara I would like to see the data on gun show shootings. Since you made the statement as a fact you should have data to support your claim.

John Graham 4 years, 7 months ago

Three incidents out of the thousands of gun shows per year. That would seem to be not be as dramatic as you would like us to believe.

John Graham 4 years, 7 months ago

No one was killed. People are killed everyday by cars, fires caused by ovens, walking into traffic with headphones on, taking aspirin for a headache, and eating nuts. Maybe cars, ovens, headphones, aspirin and nuts should be outlawed as well. People don't live in a bubble. There are risks involved in daily life. The constitution provides for people to possess guns so there will be risks with that. I am more likely to be killed crossing the street than I am by a gun. So guns don't bother me as much as people not paying attention while driving but that is the risk we take to live in America.

John Graham 4 years, 6 months ago

So one death in thousands of gun shows is all you can point to? You were the one that indicated how common shootings were at gun shows. Yes the death was due to an adult allowing a child access to a dangerous weapon. There is no excuse for that level of stupidity. But you seem to be intent on indicating shootings are more of a problem than they really are when one looks at the number of incidents you reported versus the number of gun shows per year.

Charles Fogarty 4 years, 7 months ago

I agree wholeheartedly with Prof. Carothers. This new law can only result in a more dangerous campus.

MerriAnnie Smith 4 years, 7 months ago

Young men at the age of 18, 19, and 20 or so, have been proven down through history to be lacking in emotional maturity as yet. They are still developing in maturity.

It is also something we all know, that students who leave home for the first time and go off to college dorms, suddenly are faced with deep urges to do all the things they never felt free to do at home.

Couple those two things and you already have a disaster waiting to happen.

Some students are utterly dependable and mature before they even go to college. Most are not.

All it will take is a gun in every closet and a young man full of anger at a young age, not quite fully mature yet, and someone IS GOING TO GET KILLED. Some innocent young person who deserved to live his or her life out will not get that chance.

It will happen.

Do you dare to tell yourself it will not?

Griffin Ashley 4 years, 7 months ago

Bob forrer- you completely took the whole article to a level that was not even mentioned. Who said anything about requiring the entire campus body to be armed at all times? You and a few others who have commented fail to even realize that you have to be 21 to attain a conceal and carry permit. Especially to whomever was talking about kids leaving home for the first time and moving into the dorms completely overlooked the fact that a minute minority of the students living in the dorms are eligible to get a permit and even so many of the eligible residents are RAs who already are charged with the safety of the students.

Griffin Ashley 4 years, 7 months ago

And to MerriAnne, I find it a little sexist you assume "a you MAN full of anger" is necessarily going to be the perpetrator of a murder.

Griffin Ashley 4 years, 7 months ago

And to everyone asking about the "ulterior agenda" of YAL: there is none. They are a small and dedicated group of individuals who are fed up with losing constitutional rights, one of them being the 2nd amendment, this concern just happened to manifest itself in a conceal and carry protest because they knew this would bring attention to the issue.

So no, no corrupt organization is funding them to do this, they are just trying to find ways to reach people about these issues in a world where a story has to be sensational or controversial to make people pay attention especially on a busy college campus. Furthermore, before you accuse groups of being corrupted or conniving, do a quick google search. It's not hard and your already on the internet and if I'm not mistaken YAL has a page on the Ku website that anyone may view stating their goals and focus.

Scott Morgan 4 years, 7 months ago

Well said Ashley, I for one am very concerned over the loss of freedoms. Just read where our fearless leaders are trying to mandate the following. New vehicles will have tracking and informational data sensors allowing access to where and how we drive.

Can you fathom the complexity of problems this will cause?

Griffin Ashley 4 years, 7 months ago

Which accounts are you thinking are fake? And why would somebody make fake accounts to post on ljworld exactly?

Sam Crow 4 years, 7 months ago

Slowly sound out his "name" to see who the phony is. It is a very old fraternity joke.

Jason Johnson 4 years, 7 months ago

Wouldn't bother me a bit to know fellow students were armed. I'd be armed anyway.

'cause we all know how well "gun free" zones keep guns out, don't we! There're already laws against illegal behavior if someone shoots someone or something with a gun. Why must we create laws where there already are overlapping laws?

Or is the point to create extra laws so it makes it easier to plea-bargain away the "lesser" crimes in order to get convictions on others?

Seth Stern 4 years, 7 months ago

For those who believe a CCW campus is a dangerous campus, I'd like to point you toward Colorado State University. We've had CCW for years without incident. It turns out very few college students are legally allowed to carry and even fewer are actually interested in carrying.

However, the issue becomes less about public safety and more about your rights as an individual. Rather than appealing to emotion or the slippery slope, why not ask yourself, "Does anyone have the right to take away my ability to provide an effective and competent means of defense against unprovoked violence?"

The answer is no. And particularly considering the number of veterans you have in classrooms, most of whom have better and more consistent PERSONAL training with the firearm than police and military, it really becomes delusional to think the campus, faculty and police will arrive in time to stop an active shooter.

Don't think of it as, "An armed citizen could put a stop to it." Think of it as, "If a citizen is exercising their right to life within the law, their odds of survival will infinitely increase."

And there have been several active shooters stopped by armed citizens. But don't let facts get in the way of your narrative. Big brother will protect you. He certainly did a bang up job at VA Tech, where several licensees weren't carrying.

Personally, when CSU discussed banning CCW a few years ago, I did two things: I decided immediately I wasn't going to obey if they went through with it; and I sued for the right to continue to carry or not carry as I so chose.

And though I was definitely armed every minute of every day I was on campus, not ONCE did my approach to receiving an education change. I was one of the most consistent voices in every class I attended. So the, "It'll change the environment." Argument, is just fiction.

John Graham 4 years, 7 months ago

I find it interesting how the anti-gun group fights vehemently against the concealed carry law that exists in the majority of states. Surely some if not most of this liberal group of activists are in favor of ACA and complain how the conservatives "don't get on board"with the law whether they like it or not. Since concealed carry is the law may be the liberals should just "get on board". Funny how when the shoe is on the other foot the liberals feel justified in bitterly complaining about concealed carry they don't agree with, yet don't think conservatives should complain about ACA.

Scott Burkhart 4 years, 7 months ago

You must be 21 to be eligible for a concealed carry permit. That precludes the great majority of students anyway. Much ado about nothing.

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