Time is running out on the four-year exemption given to public colleges and universities by the Kansas Legislature.

Beginning July 1 — despite ardent opposition from campus police, city and county law enforcement, administrators, faculty, staff, students and community members — concealed carry of handguns will be allowed on the grounds of Fort Hays State University, North Central Kansas Technical College and the other higher education institutions. Only elaborate and prohibitively expensive metal detectors and armed guards at every entryway would enable a campus to continue the ban.

One last attempt by state lawmakers to make colleges and universities permanently exempted from provisions of the bill, supported primarily by the Kansas State Rifle Association and the National Rifle Association, failed earlier this session.

At the time, NRA lobbyist and former state representative Travis Couture-Lovelady told Tribune News Service: “Sticking your head in the sand and hoping guns won’t come in is not enough.”

Such an argument, along with campaign contributions, were enough to keep the bill on track.

So Fort Hays State University has begun the process of preparing its campus community for the introduction of loaded guns into an environment already brimming with the emotions of failed examinations, failed relationships, missed opportunities, broken dreams and the daily pressures of becoming an adult.

Last week’s forum, conducted by the Student Government Association and American Democracy Project, was intended to start educating students, faculty, staff and the community about how the law will be implemented, how it will be enforced and the repercussions for violations.

Such discussions will be critical to maximize safety for those on campus today and in the future. Safety will be important for those with guns and without, so we appreciate all the relevant campus departments being part of the conversation.

“This is just the first of many (meetings),” said Emily Brandt, president of the SGA

There certainly can’t be too many, in our opinion.

SGA itself will offer the next presentation on FHSU’s concealed carry policy at its meeting Thursday. The meeting, which is open to the public, starts at 7 p.m. in the Memorial Union Black and Gold Room.


Editorial by Patrick Lowry