Importance of security concealed by carry bill

Nicole Stejskal / Washburn Review

Two weeks ago, I used this small area of space to address the massive issue of school violence and the need for tactics to combat this growing epidemic. Since then, it has been brought to my attention that the state of Kansas is considering measures that would ultimately be counterproductive to the fight against school violence.

The Kansas House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would give anyone with a conceal-carry license the ability to legally carry a firearm on college and university campuses. Despite arguments from school administrations, all campuses will be forced to abide by the law unless proper security is in place to prevent armed individuals from entering the premises. These security measures include metal detectors, metal detector wands or other electronic equipment or personnel used for detecting weapons.

Although the bill is currently before the Senate and has yet to jump through the legal hoops to be passed, the sheer thought of attending a university where a law like this is in place terrifies me. I can’t even begin to fathom what kind of argument could possibly be presented that would make this law right and just.

The fact that this bill is under consideration makes me wonder if our state legislation pays attention to the news at all. Have they not seen the reports from Virginia Tech and Alabama-Huntsville? By allowing people to carry firearms on campus, it’s almost like we’re asking for a school shooting to happen.

Sure, individuals have to go through a lengthy process to obtain a license, including training and a background check, but even that can’t guarantee they won’t open fire on campus. When you look at most (if not all) other school shooting cases, the individual wielding a firearm didn’t have a criminal record or any evidence of reckless behavior. There is absolutely no way to ensure someone won’t open fire on innocent people, and by allowing armed individuals to set foot on campus, we are only contributing to the risk.

Additionally, if this bill passes and universities want to continue securing their premises, they’ll have to buy equipment to monitor every entrance. With hundreds of entrances on each college campus throughout the state, we’re looking at spending millions of dollars just to abide by this law. Since our state budget won’t provide the funds for this project due to the economic crisis, colleges and universities will have to raise the cost of tuition, which ultimately means we have to pay more money just to be safe.

Those who support the bill argue that carrying a gun in public places (like college and university campuses) would make them feel more safe and secure. However, if you attend Washburn, you’re part of a campus that functions with a full-time law enforcement staff patrolling the area 24/7. If security measures are already in place, what is carrying a gun on campus going to do for you? Protect you from other people who are carrying guns, too?

The decision to pass the bill or not seems like a no-brainer to me, but evidently our legislators don’t seem to think so. I hope and pray our state government will look at the consequences of signing this bill into law and see that the benefits will never outweigh the costs.