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A.G. denies KU request to ban guns in sensitive areas; rocket fuel and guns likely to mix on campus


Pressurized gas cylinders, rocket fuel, other combustible materials — it appears unlikely the University of Kansas will be legally allowed to ban handguns from campus locations where those are stored.

KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little told the University Senate on Thursday that there are high-security labs and other areas on campus where firing a gun would be “disastrous” but that the attorney general has told KU it can’t make those places exceptions to state law.

KU and other state universities are currently drafting policies to implement a state law that requires allowing concealed guns on campus beginning in July 2017, with the exception of buildings with adequate security measures to keep all guns out, such as metal detectors or security guards.

Proposed policies have not yet been made public. The Kansas Board of Regents is slated to consider them at its October and November meetings.

In the meantime, a small committee of representatives from KU’s Lawrence and Medical Center campuses has been working on KU’s draft policy.

“In making the policy there were some things that we tried to include that had to have a review by the attorney general,” Gray-Little said. “We have not been given the go-ahead to include that,” she said of an effort to designate restricted areas, which has been suggested by a number of faculty members over the course of the past year.

Those faculty members include aerospace engineering professor Ron Barrett-Gonzalez, who asked the chancellor about the issue during Thursday’s University Senate meeting. He said engineering labs, for one, are home to storage for a multitude of dangers including pressurized gas cylinders, rocket fuel and other fuels.

KU’s policy may, however, legally require people bringing concealed guns into buildings to have those guns in holsters, Gray-Little said, based on the attorney general’s opinion. “My information is that we can require that,” she said.

University of Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little speaks to the University Senate on Oct. 6, 2016, in Green Hall.

University of Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little speaks to the University Senate on Oct. 6, 2016, in Green Hall. by Sara Shepherd

No guns signs are posted on a side door of KU's Art and Design Building, as well as other buildings on campus, pictured in May 2015.

No guns signs are posted on a side door of KU's Art and Design Building, as well as other buildings on campus, pictured in May 2015. by Sara Shepherd

— I’m the Journal-World’s KU and higher ed reporter. See all the newspaper’s KU coverage here. Reach me by email at sshepherd@ljworld.com, by phone at 832-7187, on Twitter @saramarieshep or via Facebook at Facebook.com/SaraShepherdNews.


Bob Smith 1 year, 5 months ago

"...other combustible materials..." Wood is combustible, cardboard is combustible, paper is combustible.

Bob Forer 1 year, 5 months ago

Go up to KU and fire handgun into a structure composed of wood. Then fire into a cylinder of rocket fuel. The results of your experiment will be revealed at your funeral.

beth newman 1 year, 5 months ago

It's time to make everything bullet proof. Imagine how rich I'm gonna be. It's actually an easy thing to do. We just haven't had this kind of a freakshow and the technology to deal with it happen at the same time. Now we do.

beth newman 1 year, 5 months ago

Dealing with those over/under flame throwers is going to be a bear.

Bob Smith 1 year, 5 months ago

How many spaces on the KU campus contain rocket fuel on a normal day?

Greg Cooper 1 year, 5 months ago

So what? Apropos to absolutely nothing, Bob, just like most of your silliness.

Now, those who want guns banned from everywhere are barking up the wrong tree. It ain't gonna happen. Nor should it. Get over it.

BUT, there will come a day when there will be a sensible, easily administered test or procedure that will cause gun ownership to be OK for anyone but criminals and the mentally unbalanced. And that will be the day when firearms become less and less a problem in our nation. It won't happen until everyone realizes that the old excuses are not valid, that we can come to a consensus as to what we really want our nation to do about gun ownership. Until then, I suggest there be legislation whereby everyone be required by law to own multiple guns. Then, maybe, just maybe, the idiocy that is the NRA will be shown to be what it is. Until then, get off the bandwagon, gun anti-nuts, and do what you can to make sure that those you care about know the truth about guns. We each, individually, can make a difference by making sure education, economic opportunity, and racial equality are the law and practice of the land. That will make the difference, people.

Bob Smith 1 year, 5 months ago

Wanting to know the extent of a possible rocket fuel / firearm problem is not silly. BTW, criminals do not currently observe laws that make it illegal for them to use firearms. Why do you think they'll suddenly change?

Joe Andrew 1 year, 5 months ago

Probably one. A lot of labs do have multiple vessels of compressed gases. While most are not toxic, they are under quite a lot of pressure especially cryogenic ones that are liquid and expand greatly under room temperature conditions.

Scott Kaiser 1 year, 5 months ago

Can a born and raised Lawrence guy return and attend KU? Either Lawrence or somewhere else....

A Bachelor's Degree is important to me.

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