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Students want universities to give more information about guns on campus

Published: Mar. 1, 2017 at 10:51 PM CST
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There are four months to go until concealed carry guns will be allowed on Kansas university and college campuses. But some students say their universities aren't doing enough, to keep them, or incoming students informed about the changes.

Students both in favor of allowing guns on campus, and against it at WSU say they haven't heard much from administration about what changes will take place July 1st or how it'll be implemented.

One KU student says if she knew about this law when she started school, she would've decided to get her education in another state.

"I don't feel like the campus has done an effective job of getting the word out," said Darien Pete, a freshman at WSU who calls himself a "gun rights activist" and supports the measure.

"I can't remember whether or not I've heard anything directly from the administration about it," said Ian Buhman-Wiggs, another WSU freshman who supports guns on campus.

Megan Jones, a KU grad student who's against the law, says it's the same at her school.

"There's no notification on the admissions page, there's no notification by the universities," Jones said.

She's concerned incoming that students - especially international ones - are unaware of the changes set to take place on July 1st.

"I've been thinking about how to make sure students know about the campus carry law. I've been trying to get the campus administration at KU to inform students. But time is running out and people are making their admissions decisions," she said.

She says she's emailed more than foreign embassies.

Jones says a big part of her motivation to send the emails is the Olathe shooting where an aviation engineer from India was shot and killed. Federal prosecutors are investigating the shooting as a hate crime, and it's something that spurred her concerns.

Amar Alasad is a WSU student from Iran. He also thinks students should be made aware that guns will be allowed on campus.

"I think they should be informed. Maybe a mandatory meeting to inform them, that'd be nice," Alasad said.

Jones says she wants students to be informed so they can make a decision, she didn't get to make.

"They have an ethical responsibility to let people know so they can make informed decisions about where they work and study, and they have not done so," Jones said. "If I had known about this law before it went into effect I would not have come to the University of Kansas," she said.

Pete, a student supporter of campus carry, agrees there needs to be more communication.

"It is necessary because it can scare a lot of international people if they come from a place that don't allow citizens to have guns or possess guns. I feel like it's important," Pete said.

Eyewitness News reached out to the Kansas Board of Regents Wednesday evening after business hours about how they plan to inform students of the policy change to allow guns on campus. We'll update this story with their response.

Full text letter from Megan Jones, KU grad student and a founder of the "Fail Campus Carry" Facebook page.

OPEN LETTER TO UNITED STATES EMBASSIES

To whom it may concern:

It has come to my attention that international students may not be informed about a Kansas law which will allow firearms on university campuses in Kansas (K.S.A 75-7c01 et seq.). On July 1, 2017, the concealed carry of firearms will be legally permitted in every building on public college and university campuses in the State of Kansas. Locations where guns will be permitted include but are not limited to: dormitories, classrooms, laboratories with volatile chemicals, childcare facilities, on-campus airports, and public hospital facilities, like the University of Kansas Medical Center. The only way for a public Kansas university to legally prohibit firearms after July 1, 2017 will be to install “adequate security measures,” or metal detectors, armed guards, and firearms storage facilities at every public entrance of each building. This was an unfunded mandate by the state, so the vast majority of buildings will not have these security measures, if any do at all. Under this same law (K.S.A. 75-7c01 et seq.) permits and training are not required to concealed carry in the state of Kansas, and the individual universities will not be permitted to issue additional requirements to carry.

It is also my understanding that non-U.S. citizens who have not established permanent residency are barred from carrying firearms by federal law, meaning many international students at Kansas universities would be surrounded by firearms without the legal right to also carry one—making it potentially even more dangerous for these students. Considering the shooting of two Indian men who were presumed to be “Middle Eastern” by a white supremacist in Olathe, Kansas last week, international students, especially those from certain countries or regions, are at a greater risk of being the victims of deadly violence once this campus carry law goes into effect.

The public colleges and universities in Kansas are not doing enough to inform prospective students about this law. Many domestic U.S. students also are not being informed about it, so I imagine that international students would especially be unaware of this dangerous law that will affect them and their studies in the state of Kansas.

I have attached the text of the law to this email. It is my hope in sending this that students planning to pursue their educations in the United States will be able to make informed decisions about where they choose to work or study. I have also copied onto this email the chancellors of each of the seven Regents Universities in Kansas, Governor Sam Brownback, and the members of the Kansas House Federal and State Affairs Committee, who are currently considering HB2074, a bill which would prevent this concealed carry law from going into effect and continue to allow universities to prohibit firearms beyond July 1, 2017.

Sincerely,

Megan Jones