Banning guns from major sporting events on the University of Kansas campus was the right step for the university and the Board of Regents to take.
The change will create some inconvenience for fans, who will be subjected to screenings before entering venues such as Allen Fieldhouse and Memorial Stadium. But there simply is too much risk involved to allow guns at events with as many as 50,000 people in attendance.
Kansas law requires state universities to allow concealed handguns on their campuses beginning July 1. Exceptions are allowed for facilities where adequate security measures such as metal detectors and guards are in place — either permanently or temporarily — to ensure no one takes a gun inside. The university also will ban purses. Fans who want to bring items into the sports venue will have to use clear bags.
Metal detectors and guards would be put in place for men’s basketball games and football games. They also would be used at any other sporting event expected to draw more than 5,000 spectators. It is estimated the additional security will cost more than $1 million, with funding coming from KU Athletics’ operating budget.
The KU proposal — along with similar proposals by Kansas State and Wichita State — was approved in a 4-1 vote Wednesday by the Board of Regents governance committee.
Committee member Shane Bangerter cast the dissenting vote, saying the security was a waste of time and resources. “I don’t think that having adequate security measures at an event like that makes us any safer, or any less safe,” Bangerter said.
But Bangerter’s nonchalance about the issue fails to acknowledge how sporting events differ from others at the university. Fans’ emotions often run high, and alcohol use prior to games affects behavior. It’s not an environment made safer by allowing concealed weapons.
Can a gun incident still occur at a KU sports event? Of course. But banning guns and implementing security measures to screen fans for weapons reduce the risk significantly. It was the right choice for the university, its fans and its teams.