KU police handle crimes involving guns about once every 2 years, records show
Once every other year — that’s the rate at which University of Kansas police currently encounter crimes involving guns on campus.
KU police deal with more weapons of other types, but not many more.
With Kansas law and, consequently, KU’s weapons policy soon undergoing a major change, the Journal-World requested all KU police reports and narrative information for weapons on campus from 2011 to present.
There have been a total of three criminal reports involving handguns on or adjacent to campus in that time, reports show.
KU police also discovered one explosive, one throwing star, one set of brass knuckles and two knives, for a total of eight weapons in criminal reports filed since 2011.
When police encounter weapons on campus it’s usually in connection with other crimes, said Deputy Chief James Anguiano of the KU Office of Public Safety.
In the three handgun cases, according to reports, one handgun was reported at a scholarship hall, and the other two were discovered during traffic stops where the suspects also had drugs and other illegal items.
Although weapons reports are few, Anguiano said police are trained to exercise caution when responding to calls.
“We’re not immune to anything that goes on within any city,” he said. “There could be weapons present just like anything else, so we have to be cognizant of that.”
Previously, university policy has banned all weapons — the policy specifically lists weapons from bombs to nunchucks to crossbows — everywhere on campus. Use or possession of weapons in certain circumstances also violates state law.
Beginning July 1, in accordance with the Kansas Personal and Family Protection Act, KU will allow lawfully carried concealed handguns everywhere on campus except at large sporting events and certain restricted access areas. KU policy also will allow stun guns in the same places concealed handguns are allowed.
That doesn’t mean anything goes when it comes to guns.
For example, among other restrictions, state law says you must be 21 to legally carry a concealed handgun and you can’t be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Police reports don’t necessarily reflect all instances of weapons on campus.
In some cases, a weapon on campus may violate university policy but not the law, and as such KU students or employees could face disciplinary action by the university.
KU’s annual security report, required by the Clery Act, combines reports in both the criminal and the university policy categories. KU’s Clery reports show a total of five weapons cases referred for disciplinary action since 2011, and Anguiano said it’s possible but unknown whether those overlap with criminal reports.
The university does not share details about individual disciplinary cases, KU spokeswoman Erinn Barcomb-Peterson said. She said information about the type of weapon involved is not included in aggregated data and is not readily available.
It remains to be seen what effect the new campus carry policy may have on incidents involving weapons after July 1, Anguiano said.
He said he did not expect KU police officers’ approach to change as campus carry becomes legal — they’ll continue to be vigilant about the possibility of weapons being present on calls.
Anguiano urged the KU community to call police about any suspicious or potentially dangerous situation.
“It’s always good to hear from people, if they think that something’s suspicious or something’s out of place, to call us so we can check out the situation,” Anguiano said.
Weapons on campus
Following, listed by report date, are criminal use or possession of weapons reports taken by KU police since 2011.
Date: Aug. 23, 2011
Location: Alumni Place Fountain, 1525 Pearson Place
More info: An unattended explosive (unknown type) was found. No other crimes listed on report.
Date: Aug. 26, 2011
Location: Ellsworth Residence Hall, 1734 Engel Road
More info: Two reports from this date involved the same suspects and weapon. Suspects burglarized multiple vehicles, and police found one suspect in possession of a throwing star. Other crimes on reports: burglary of vehicle, theft.
Date: March 25, 2012
Location: 2300 Bob Billings Parkway
More info: During a traffic stop, police found the suspect in possession of brass knuckles. Other crimes on report: DUI, transporting open container, improper driving on lanes of road.
Date: April 23, 2012
Location: Battenfeld Scholarship Hall, 1425 Alumni Place
More info: Someone had a firearm on government property, in violation of the law. No other crimes on report.
Date: Nov. 18, 2012
Location: McCollum Hall, 1800 Engel Road
More info: While executing a search warrant, police found a switchblade knife. Other crimes on report: use or possess with intent to use drugs or paraphernalia.
Date: Dec. 18, 2012
Location: Missouri Street, near 18th Street
More info: During a traffic stop, police found a knife. Other crimes on report: use or possess with intent to use drugs or paraphernalia.
Date: April 20, 2014
Location: 23rd Street, near Crestline Drive
More info: During a traffic stop, police found someone carrying a concealed handgun with no permit. Other crimes on report: Possession of drugs, speeding, transporting open container.
Date: Sept. 9, 2016
Location: 1600 block of Engel Road
More info: During a traffic stop, police found someone under 21 in possession of a handgun. Other crimes on report: distribution of marijuana, use or possess with intent to use drugs or paraphernalia, fake ID, drug possession.
Source: KU police reports, with additional information from Deputy Chief James Anguiano