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Sources: David Griffin, 785-532-5904,;
and Melissa Linenberger, 785-532-4392,
Web site:
News release prepared by: Katie Mayes, 785-532-6415,

Friday, Sept. 11, 2009


MANHATTAN -- Two legal experts on the constitutional right to bear arms will discuss the right to carry guns on places like college campuses in the first lecture of the 2009-2010 Dorothy L. Thompson Civil Rights Lecture Series at Kansas State University.

"Guns on Campus? A New Understanding of the Right to Bear Arms" will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 16, in the K-State Student Union's Forum Hall. The lecture is free and the public is welcome.

Bill Merkel, professor of law at Topeka's Washburn University, and Ray Diamond, law professor at Louisiana State University, will discuss the 2008 landmark Supreme Court case, District of Columbia v. Heller, and their interpretations of its impact on the right to bear arms. Questions they'll tackle include whether the right to bear arms applies to individual states and the right to possess weapons for private use on a college campus or for purposes unrelated to military service.

Michael Kaye, a professor of law at Washburn, will moderate the debate, which is being held the day prior to Constitution Day.

"This topic is vitally important to students, faculty and staff, and is a burning concern on college campuses across the nation," said David Griffin, chair of the 2009-2010 Dorothy L. Thompson Lecture Series and assistant dean of K-State's College of Education. "My hope is that this lecture will help the campus community develop a solid understanding of the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms."

The Dorothy L. Thompson Lecture Series was established to recognize Thompson's contributions to the field of human rights on campuses throughout Kansas and the nation. Thompson was associated with K-State from 1971 until her death in 1992. During that time she was K-State's director of affirmative action and associate university attorney.
The lecture is being co-sponsored by the K-State Union Program Council.