Most Fort Hays State University students aren’t in favor of guns, whether carried openly or concealed, on campus.
“I’m not against guns, but I just don’t think there’s a need for them in schools, personally,” said Bri Boyer, a freshman from North Platte, Neb.
Kassandra Grauerholz, a Kensington junior, doesn’t think “it’s smart to have open or concealed weapons on campus.”
If a shooter came into a room where everyone was armed, more people would get hurt “if everyone is shooting,” she said.
The Kansas Board of Regents approved a policy Wednesday that begins July 1, 2017.
It bans open carry but allows anyone 21 years old, and lawfully able to carry a concealed handgun, to carry one on public university campuses beginning next year.
Recent FHSU graduate Kellan Ziegelmeier said he doesn’t understand why if they allow concealed carry they don’t allow open carry.
“If someone’s going to carry a gun, they’re going to carry a gun,” Ziegelmeier said.
Under the Regents new policy, each state university will draft its own policies allowing for the safe possession and storage of lawfully possessed handguns, and determine which buildings will be fitted with adequate security measures. Concealed handguns will be prohibited only in those buildings.
According to a Docking Institute of Public Affairs survey, 70 percent of Kansas state university employees don’t want guns on campus.
The percentage at FHSU opposed was 60, the lowest percentage among Regents universities in Kansas.
Kiowa junior Chris Jacobs opposes guns on campus.
“I really just don’t feel safe with people carrying guns. If something were to happen, I’d rather the campus law enforcement handle it than just somebody sitting in lecture hall with me,” Jacobs said.
He doesn’t like the idea of securing guns on campus either.
FHSU Police Chief Ed Howell has been at FHSU for 29 years, working his way up in the department from patrolman to chief.
Before the Legislature passed the law allowing guns on university campuses, university police chiefs testified against the law, he said.
“When law is being generated, we have input, but not after,” Howell said. “Once it’s passed into law, we support and enforce the law.”
Howell strongly recommends “that if they make that decision to carry concealed, that they get the proper training that’s associated with the carriance of that firearm.”
“I don’t think it would be very safe if we had guns on campus,” said Haley LaKous, a Rose Hill junior.