Archive for Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Kansas regents approve new gun policy to comply with state law; university policies to come next

The Kansas Board of Regents listens as Kansas University's Tom Beisecker discusses the results of a faculty and staff gun survey on Wednesday January 20, 2016, in Topeka, Kan. Beisecker told the regents that the current legislation would have a "chilling" affect on tough campus discussions. The board is acting because a state law will prevent universities from barring concealed weapons starting in July 2017. (Chris Neal/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP)

The Kansas Board of Regents listens as Kansas University's Tom Beisecker discusses the results of a faculty and staff gun survey on Wednesday January 20, 2016, in Topeka, Kan. Beisecker told the regents that the current legislation would have a "chilling" affect on tough campus discussions. The board is acting because a state law will prevent universities from barring concealed weapons starting in July 2017. (Chris Neal/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP)

January 20, 2016, 5:27 p.m. Updated January 20, 2016, 7:46 p.m.

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TOPEKA — The Kansas Board of Regents updated its weapons policy Wednesday to comply with a state law requiring universities to allow concealed carry of guns on their campuses starting July 2017.

Now, it’s up to each of the six state universities to develop policies outlining how the controversial law will be implemented on their specific campuses.

Board of Regents chairman Shane Bangerter said the state law doesn’t leave a lot of leeway when it comes to implementation — it’s very clear that lawful concealed carry must be allowed.

However, under the new Regents policy schools will have control over which, if any, of their buildings and events to equip with adequate security measures. Universities can legally prohibit guns from buildings and events with security measures such as metal detectors or guards in place.

Statistics indicate that only a small percentage of the population carries concealed guns, Bangerter said, so he doesn’t think universities will actually see much of a difference after July 2017.

“This law isn’t going to change anything a whole lot one way or the other,” he said. “How much time and energy do you want to spend on it, and how much money?”

Each university will have to weigh that for itself, he said.

Bangerter said the Regents policy aims to provide “common sense” guidance for implementing the Personal and Family Protection Act on college campuses, which have had an exemption since 2013 that will expire in 2017. The policy requires each university to:

• Create policies and procedures for the “safe possession and storage of lawfully possessed handguns.” Those must include directions for reporting policy violations, how the university will educate students and employees about the policy, and where to find firearm safety instruction.

• Determine whether guns will be prohibited in specific buildings or areas and, if so, provide adequate security measures and signage at entrances. Universities must provide the Regents Governance Committee with a list of these buildings, the rationale for banning guns from them and the security measures in place. Security measures also may be implemented on a “temporary, as-needed basis.”

• Ensure that, if security measures are used to prohibit guns in stadiums or other large venues requiring tickets for admission, tickets state that concealed carry will be prohibited at the event.

The Regents policy also addresses guns at the individual level.

“Each individual who lawfully possesses a concealed handgun on campus shall at all times have that handgun in their custody and control, and shall either keep it on their person with safety mechanism, if any, engaged, or stored,” the policy states.

Anytime a handgun is not on the individual’s person, it must be locked in a secure storage area provided by the university, stored in his or her residence, or locked in a vehicle and concealed from view, according to the policy. If the gun carrier lives in a dorm or scholarship hall where guns are allowed, he or she must lock the gun, concealed from view, in a device that meets “minimum industry standards for safe-keeping of handguns,” the policy says.

Weapons in general — such as switchblades, explosives or crossbows — will continue to be prohibited on state university campuses, as will open carry of any firearms, according to the Regents policy.

Faculty oppose guns

Earlier in the meeting, the Regents saw results of a Council of Faculty Senate Presidents survey that indicated 77 percent of university employees statewide don’t want guns on campus.

Survey results also indicated 54 percent of respondents think campus carry would negatively affect how they teach, and 52 percent said it would limit academic freedom. (At KU, 65 percent said guns would negatively affect how they teach, and 64 percent said guns would limit academic freedom.)

“It becomes apparent from the results of this survey that this is really not a Second Amendment issue; this is an issue of campus safety,” said Tom Beisecker, associate professor of communications studies at KU, speaking on behalf of the council.

While he acknowledged the Board of Regents did not enact the law, Beisecker said the board has a duty to ensure a free learning environment and that allowing the law to remain in place would create a “chilling effect” on university campuses statewide.

“The implementation will restrict faculty members’ and students’ sense of academic freedom,” he said. “It will diminish their willingness to engage in robust controversial debates.”

Regent Zoe Newton requested information about universities in states where campus carry already has been enacted.

“Until we’ve actually been through it, we don’t have anything but what people think,” she said. “It may give us some information, and maybe even some comfort.”

Julene Miller, general counsel for the Regents, said at least three states currently allow guns on college campuses, with Texas scheduled to implement a similar law later this year.

She said those states’ policies and laws were reviewed prior to drafting the Regents policy.

Next steps for KU

Bangerter said the board wants to have universities’ policies ready for its review by October.

At KU, the next step for administration is to gather a group of university attorneys, campus police and other relevant stakeholders to begin developing a policy, chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said.

While some groups on the KU campus have pledged to lobby the Legislature to change the law — and Gray-Little herself has stated she personally opposes allowing guns on campus — she said that’s not the plan for university administration.

She said KU leaders must now respond to the Regents’ directive.

“I think there will continue to be efforts on the campus to look for ways to work with the Legislature over time,” Gray-Little said. “I think for the administration, what our role is at this time is to see what are the best things we can do to keep our campus safe, and comply with the law.”

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Comments

Calvin Anders 1 year, 10 months ago

65% of KU faculty think this new rule will negatively impact the way they teach. I seems like Brownie and the jackals in Topeka will stop it nothing to continue to undermine our education system on all levels. If they can't steal all the money, they will enact policies that threaten the safety and effectiveness of schools. These guys in Topeka are callous, myopic parrots who have no understanding of the consequences of their actions.

Jason Johnson 1 year, 10 months ago

How will it impact the way they teach?

I'm pretty sure learning calculus will be done the same as it has been for the last couple hundred years.

"Sorry class, since some of you might be carrying concealed handguns, I can no longer teach you how to find integrals. Ergo, you'll not be able to find areas under a curve and you'll all now fail at life. May God have mercy on your souls."

Calvin Anders 1 year, 10 months ago

I don't know Jason, if I were tasked with teaching something as complicated as the volume of rotational solids or linear algebra, I might be concerned about a frustrated student with an itchy trigger finger. But I think most of the concern was from teachers who may want to promote learning through spirited discussions and challenging students to consider other perspectives.

Mike Riner 1 year, 10 months ago

I'm sorry Randolf, but given the climate on many college campuses of late where we certainly don't want to hurt their precious little feelings lest they be offended, I have doubts that there will be much "learning through spirited discussions and challenging students to consider other perspectives."

Joshua Cain 1 year, 10 months ago

Most underclassmen/women aren't even eligible to conceal or open carry as the legal requirement is 21. So we can stop with the scare tactic that implies every other student is going to be armed. Since the argument to pass more gun laws is often cited as a useful tool in reducing gun violence it would be consistent to believe that most if not the vast majority of those under 21 will be in compliance.

Bob Smith 1 year, 10 months ago

The current crop of special snowflakes on campus don't want spirited discussions that might trigger uncomfortable feelings. Faculty members with one eye on their careers will avoid challenging the SJWs.

Scott Quenette 1 year, 10 months ago

I don't know why everybody's worried about guns, the administration has let the campus become a ticking time bomb anyway.

Scott Quenette 1 year, 10 months ago

The fact that someone can be put on leave for two months and counting for saying something in a class should be considered a "negative impact" to teaching.

Sam Crow 1 year, 10 months ago

Makes one wonder how they teach at University of Chicago, alma mater of Bernie Sanders, surrounded by a city of 450 murders and 2500 shootings last year.

All by prohibited guns.

Bob Reinsch 1 year, 10 months ago

Can someone provide me information on the number of incidents on KU's campus involving guns? When was the last time a student or faculty member was shot on campus. It must be some sort of epidemic to inspire such fear.

Bob Smith 1 year, 10 months ago

The regents have agreed to obey state law? Let freedom ring!

Lawrence Freeman 1 year, 10 months ago

Frankly I doubt if CC will increase at all on campus. The only real difference will be they cannot make CC a criminal offense by itself.

Joshua Cain 1 year, 10 months ago

Spot on Lawrence. I'd also like to add (as i have in a post above posted here again to emphasize the fact that most underclassmen/women aren't even eligible to conceal or open carry as the legal requirement is 21. So we can stop with the scare tactic that implies every other student is going to be armed. Since the argument to pass more gun laws is often cited as a useful tool in reducing gun violence it would be consistent to believe that most if not the vast majority of those under 21 will be in compliance.

Joe Herynk 1 year, 10 months ago

How is it that college faculties will go to the ends of the earth to protect the first amendment while at the same time demonize the second amendment? Is not this the definition of an oxymoron?

We need to be discussing firearm responsibility rather than defaulting to the political scare tactic associated with the term, "gun control."

"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." -- Sigmund Freud

Scott Quenette 1 year, 10 months ago

actually, they don't work very hard to protect the 1st amendment.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

Guns and Bloodshed

As of December 23, a total of 12,942 people had been killed in the United States in 2015 in a gun homicide, unintentional shooting, or murder/suicide.

There were the six children, their mother and her boyfriend in Houston, Texas.

The nine worshippers in a church in Charleston, South Carolina.

The 53-year-old father who tried to stop three men ransacking a metalworker’s minivan in Brooklyn.

The 28-year-old mother of two in Indianapolis whose new husband shot her in the face 13 times.

The two young reporters shot to death during a live news broadcast in Moneta, Virginia. And the thousands just like them whose deaths did not make the front page.

While many victims’ names may quickly disappear from the public eye, their stories live on in the statistics that help us to understand the scale of gun violence in the United States.

Below is a compilation of numbers that added up to a significant year in gun debate in 2015.

more on the matter: http://www.thetrace.org/2015/12/gun-violence-stats-2015/

As of December 23, a total of 12,942 people had been killed in the United States in 2015 in a gun homicide, unintentional shooting, or murder/suicide.

Lawrence Freeman 1 year, 10 months ago

"As of December 23, a total of 12,942 people had been killed in the United States in 2015 in a gun homicide, unintentional shooting, or murder/suicide."

If that is the correct figure, that's 20,000 below average. Guess all the guns sold in the last few years are having a positive effect.

Bob Summers 1 year, 10 months ago

This is distressing. I can't imagine armed emotionally sensitive teenagers wandering around campus.

Imagine if a bully took someones lunch money?

What if a dropped bullet is found? There will need to be on sight crises management teams in every building.

I may never drive near campus again.

Joshua Cain 1 year, 10 months ago

"This is distressing. I can't imagine armed emotionally sensitive teenagers wandering around campus."- B. Summers

Well it's simple bob. You can't conceal and carry unless you're 21. Problem solved.

Paul Beyer 1 year, 10 months ago

Never met a gun nut yet that I would ever want around me. Much less a gun nut with an ounce of common sense since that is not possible.

Lawrence Freeman 1 year, 10 months ago

Sense is never common! Look at all the people afraid of law abiding citizens and not criminals. LOL

Bob Summers 1 year, 10 months ago

@ Joshua.

Seriously? Why are you assuming the highly sensitive youth will follow the law?

You think drinking age keeps them from drinking alcohol?

Bob Smith 1 year, 10 months ago

Leave us hope that Paul gets so frightened of law-abiding Kansas residents that he heads back to where he can feel safe.

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