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Kansas Regents Poised To Change Conceal-Carry Weapons Policy

Kansas Board of Regents

Although some tried to stop it and many don’t like the idea, the Kansas Board of Regents is expected to approve a new conceal-and-carry weapons policy at its regular meeting Wednesday.

As it now stands, come July 1, 2017 anyone will be able to carry a gun on a public school campus in Kansas.

But the vast majority of faculty and staff oppose the change.

A survey done by the Docking Institute at Fort Hays State University showed that 70 percent want legislators to change the law so that guns are kept out of campus buildings.

Eighty-two percent said they would feel less safe if students were allowed to carry concealed guns to class.

The Docking Institute says it emailed 20,151 faculty and staff at all of the Regent's schools. About half responded.

The survey also found:

  • Overall, 70 percent of respondents said allowing guns on campus would negatively impact their course and how they teach; 20 percent disagreed.
  • 66 percent said that allowing guns in the classroom would limit their academic freedom to teach the material and engage with students in a way that optimizes learning, while 24 percent disagreed.
  • 46 percent believe that allowing concealed carry on campus would increase crime on campus, 16 percent thought it would cut down on crime, 22 percent said it would not affect campus crime, and 16 percent said they did not know.

The law allows schools to only prohibit guns in buildings secured with metal detectors and guards. But that would be very expensive. Still, 54 percent of those in the survey said they would favor schools spending the money to provide those security measures.
It's clear most want the law changed. But it’s highly unlikely the current legislature is going to backtrack — so officials at Regent schools have been working on which of the 800 buildings on the six campuses will have that kind of security.

Right now many believe that weapons will be banned in Allen Fieldhouse at the University of Kansas and Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium at Kansas State University. That would mean metal detectors or wands at all entrances to those facilities.

Sam Zeff covers education for KCUR. He's also co-host of KCUR's political podcast Statehouse Blend. Follow him on Twitter @samzeff.

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