November 6, 2015
A letter from V.P. Cindy Bontrager: Amending the weapons possession policy
Safety of all of our students, faculty and staff at each of our campuses is a top priority at Kansas State University. Discussions regarding campus safety and gun control have continued to increase with recent campus shootings around the country and the Kansas Board of Regents beginning plans to implement the law passed by the Kansas Legislature for concealed carry.
First, I want to ensure we are all informed of current laws and explain actions taken by the Kansas Legislature and the Kansas Board of Regents over the past several years. K-State currently prohibits the possession or use of firearms, explosives or other weapons on our university campuses, as provided in the university and Kansas Board of Regents policy. I encourage everyone to read the current policy.
The 2013 Legislature enacted a statute to prevent state and municipal entities from prohibiting the concealed carry of handguns by eligible individuals into state and municipal buildings, except those buildings that have adequate security measures to ensure that no weapons are permitted to be carried into such building. Adequate security is defined in the law as "use of electronic equipment and personnel at public entrances to detect and restrict the carrying of any weapons" into the facilities, "including, but not limited to, metal detectors, metal detector wands or any other equipment used for similar purposes."
The statute allowed governing bodies to apply for exemption for a period of up to four years, which the Board of Regents enacted on our behalf. The exemption period expires on July 1, 2017. Once the exemption expires, in order to continue prohibiting the concealed carry of handguns on campuses we would have to place security guards and metal detectors at all exterior entrances to each building. Given the number of buildings and building entrances on campuses, this is cost prohibitive.
The 2014 Legislature enacted K.S.A 75-7c24, which allows state and municipal entities to prohibit open carry — i.e. the carrying of an unconcealed firearm — into any building that has signs posted in accordance with legal requirements. K-State has posted the appropriate signage on each of our buildings and elsewhere on our campuses, and we do not plan to alter that prohibition unless changed by law.
The Kansas Board of Regents has now drafted proposed amendments to the Board's current weapons policy in order to implement state law regarding the concealed carry of handguns by those who can legally do so. The Board has suggested the policy will be updated by the end of this calendar year. The Students' Advisory Committee, which consists of the student body presidents from each state university, will work with the Docking Institute of Public Affairs to create a survey to gather student opinions on the implementation of the concealed carry law. The survey will be conducted on each state university campus.
A K-State working group has been created to solicit input and feedback from the university regarding the draft of the Board of Regents' policy, keep the campuses informed regarding this issue and advising President Kirk Schulz in implementing an amended weapons policy at the university.
Members of the committee are: Andrew Hurtig, Student Governing Association president; Michael Reichenberger, Graduate School Council; Pam Warren, University Support Staff Senate president; Fred Guzek, Faculty Senate president; Ronnie Grice, assistant vice president for university police and public safety; Sue Peterson, director of Governmental Relations; Cheryl Strecker, General Counsel; Pat Bosco, vice president for student life and dean of students; Jeff Morris, vice president for communications and marketing; and myself.
For additional information, read the Kansas Board of Regents fact sheet. If you have questions about the current policy or concerns about the new law, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 532-6226; the K-State police department at email@example.com or 532-6412; or submit feedback on the weapons policy amendments website.
Vice President for Administration and Finance