Handguns could come to campus

By Lauren Rust

Troy Daugherty/Collegian - A visitor to Hutchinson Pawn & Jewelry, 509 East 4th, tries on a holster with a .44 magnum revolver on Sept. 17. Concealed handguns would be legal on all Kansas college campuses by 2017, unless state laws are changed to prohibit them.
Troy Daugherty/Collegian - A visitor to Hutchinson Pawn & Jewelry, 509 East 4th, tries on a holster with a .44 magnum revolver on Sept. 17. Concealed handguns would be legal on all Kansas college campuses by 2017, unless state laws are changed to prohibit them.

For the first time, guns on the HCC campus are a real possibility within two years.

Now that “conceal and carry” is legal for Kansans over the age of 21, it is time for colleges to figure out how to live with the law.

The 2015 Kansas legislature passed a law that said college campuses cannot ban concealed weapons unless each building has “adequate security measures.”

These measures include metal detectors and metal detector wands.

Every college could request an exemption for up to four years to figure out what to do, which is what HCC chose to do.

HCC is on the third year of the exemption and will need to make a decision by the end of the 2016-2017 school year.

Dr. Carter File, HCC president, addressed the situation during an interview on Sept. 10.

It would be “highly difficult,” he said, to have metal detectors and fulltime guards at all entrances.

“The cost has to be passed down to someone,” he said.

The other option is to allow concealed weapons on campus, for anyone 21 and over.

The college would not encourage students to bring guns, but it would be allowed, File said.

He opposes the idea of having armed students on campus, but the thought that it may happen did not seem to cause him great alarm, either.

“I’m a gun rights guy,” he said.

There may be another option.

It might be possible, File said, to convince the legislature to grant a permanent exemption for Kansas colleges, so they can prohibit the carrying of guns on their campuses.

Several HCC students reacted to the issue. The majority of them said they would rather not have guns on campus.

“They should try and get that exemption and if not, they should get metal detectors and people guarding the doors,” said Keona Jordan, Nickerson.

She said there is no reason for bringing guns on campus.

Joey Hale, Hutchinson, also believes that we should have metal detectors and guards at our doors.

“I’m all about the safety,” he said.

In the wake of several campus shootings, the most deadly being the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech University, more than 30 states introduced legislation to permit concealed weapons on campuses.

A law in Arkansas now allows college faculty to carry guns.

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