Campus carry about to begin: What you need to know about guns at KU

No guns allowed signs are posted on doors leading into Wescoe Hall on the University of Kansas campus on Monday, Oct. 17, 2016. Jayhawk Boulevard and Strong Hall are reflected in the glass.

As of Saturday, July 1, people who are legally eligible to carry a concealed handgun elsewhere in Kansas will be allowed to do so on the University of Kansas campus, too.

Campus-goers also will be allowed to carry stun guns if they choose, according to KU policy.

Other weapons, plus the open carrying of firearms, will continue to be banned from campus as in the past.

Here are key points to know about campus carry at KU.

The law

Under a state law enacted in 2013, publicly-owned facilities other than K-12 public schools must allow concealed handguns in public spaces and buildings, unless entrances are equipped with “adequate security measures” — such as metal detectors and guards — to ensure that no one with a gun gets in.

State universities and many other public entities had a four-year exemption from that rule, and KU has been prohibiting guns from campus and had signs on building doors indicating the ban.

The exemption is expiring July 1, 2017. After that — to comply with the law — KU must begin allowing concealed handguns on campus.

KU’s rules

The Kansas Board of Regents updated its statewide policy to reflect the new law; then state universities created more specific policies for their respective campuses. Under KU’s policy, as summarized on the university website, guns must:

• Be under the constant control of the carrier.

• Be out of view, concealed either on the person of the carrier, or in a backpack, purse, or bag that remains under the constant control of the carrier. 

• Be in a holster that covers the trigger area and secures any external hammer in an un-cocked position.

• Have the safety on, and have no round in the chamber.


• When stored in vehicles, guns must be hidden from view.

• If stored in residence halls when not in possession of the carrier, guns must be in secure storage devices. Outgoing KU Student Housing director Diana Robertson said the university would not provide storage devices; students must have their own.


Guns won’t be allowed in football games at Memorial Stadium or men’s basketball games at Allen Fieldhouse. KU Athletics plans to deploy temporary security measures — metal detectors and guards — on game days for athletic events expected to draw more than 5,000 fans.

The university may put up temporary security measures for other special events on a case-by-case basis.

There are a number of restricted access areas on campus, which aren’t open to the public, where guns will continue to be prohibited. The university has not made public a list of those, citing campus security.

Numbers worth noting

Law does not allow everyone to carry a concealed handgun, at KU or elsewhere in the state. You can’t legally do so if you’re not 21, if you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or if you have a nonimmigrant visa, to name a few restrictions.

That significantly diminishes the number of KU community members that would be allowed to carry a gun if they chose to.

• Only about 32 percent of Lawrence and Edwards campus students would be eligible, according to KU. That’s because 59 percent of them aren’t 21, and just more than 9 percent are international.

• Of students living in campus housing, only 8 percent — fewer than 400 students — are old enough to carry concealed, according to KU. Few of those live in the residence halls. About 85 percent — or 330 students — of campus residents who are 21 or older live in Jayhawker Towers apartments.

What to do if…

If you see a gun, and the situation is not an emergency, the university suggests calling KU police at 864-5900. On the Edwards Campus, call 913-897-8700. 

If someone is brandishing a gun, or if you see a gun and believe “danger is imminent,” KU says, call 911.

University leaders and students also have expressed concern about the mix of guns on campus and mental health issues. The university urges anyone who knows of a KU community member who’s “struggling with life” and may be at risk of harming themselves or others to contact the Student of Concern Review Team online at For employees, contact human resources at or 864-4946.

Note about KU Medical Center and KU Hospital

Under a bill passed in June, publicly owned hospitals and other health care facilities can continue banning people from carrying concealed firearms after July 1. The KU Medical Center campus at 39th Street and Rainbow Boulevard in Kansas City, Kan. — which includes the KU Hospital — will continue to prohibit guns. Some KU Medical Center buildings off the main campus will begin allowing concealed carry, with rules like those at KU’s Lawrence campus. The medical center provides more details and a full list of buildings online at, under ‘Weapons policy.’

More information

The KU website features a host of information and additional links about the law, KU’s policy and campus safety recommendations.