No-guns-allowed signs stick to campus doors at the University of Kansas. That will change July 1, 2017, when any student, visitor, faculty or staff member over the age of 21 will be able to walk onto the Lawrence campus, or any other Kansas public university, with a handgun tucked inside a pea coat, purse or backpack, reports the Kansas City Star. Great, some say. If someone comes with guns blazing onto our campus we can take him down. Bad idea, say others. Alcohol, college students and guns make for a dangerous concoction. The topic of guns, and how schools will handle them on campus, is one of the hottest subjects at colleges these days. This month the issue flared at KU when students and professors packed an auditorium for a discussion on concealed weapons.
After mass shootings at Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary School, a South Carolina church, Umpqua Community College in Oregon, and San Bernardino, Ca., talk about citizens arming themselves has escalated. At the same time, gun-control groups plead louder for deeper background checks, and limits on the sale of assault weapons and ammunition. Kansas is one of nine states — the others being Colorado, Texas, Arkansas, Oregon, Utah, Idaho, Mississippi and Wisconsin — with measures that allow campus-carry or will soon. In 2011 anti-gun lobbyists were able to push back against guns on college campuses, and bills in about a dozen states either died or were delayed. In 2013, after 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot to death 20 children and six adult staff members in Newtown, Ct., the tide seemed to shift. At least 19 states introduced legislation to allow concealed-carry on campus, and the next year at least 14 states introduced similar legislation, says the National Conference of State Legislatures.