Small group gets big response on gun control protest

Victoria Garcia

While their week-long peaceful protest generated a mixed amount of feedback, members of Washburn Students for Concealed Carry on Campus were not at all expecting their event to attract such significant attention from the media in the community of Topeka.

The group’s overall leader, sophomore Nicholas Parkhill, still finds it hard to believe he only just constructed the Washburn chapter of the nationwide group back in February.

“To get such recognition in a matter of just two months is huge for us,” said Parkhill.

So huge, in fact, that the group is scheduled to meet with state representatives this upcoming Wednesday to discuss taking further steps in the process of making concealed carry on campus an actual law.

“Having the minority and majority leaders of the House show an interest in meeting with us is proof that this week went far better than any of us could have ever imagined,” said Parkhill.

Paul Cope, campus leader for the Washburn School of Law, is hoping that this will bring things to the next level.

“Hopefully this law will be something that the legislature will place on their agenda to discuss either during this session or their next,” said Cope. “It’s a process we have to start on now.”

Parkhill views the entire experience as one step closer to achieving the desired law.

“If it is passed at the legislative level it will have to go before Governor Sebelius, and then she will make the final decision,” said Parkhill.

Although Parkhill admitted frustration at the amount of ignorance in regard to concealed carry laws, it is something he has grown to expect. However, he views those situations as prime opportunities to offer up a statistical and factual point of view.

“It seems like people tend to rule out logic, common sense and statistics and they instead base their opinions off of personal fear and opinion,” said Parkhill.

Prior to the peaceful protest, an editorial submitted by Parkhill in the March 3 issue of the Washburn Review generated a number of comments via the online version available at the Review’s Web site.

“Everything I’ve stated in response to those that disagree is based off of actual statistics and facts,” said Parkhill. “People need to keep their minds open, read the facts and understand that we are not out to be police officers patrolling the campus. It’s strictly about self-defense.”

Cope said it’s nice to hear students fired up and talking about the issue.

“Even if we can convince one person that what we’re trying to do is decent and that our point of view is rational, then I feel that we’ve been successful,” said Cope.

Furthermore, he shares in Parkhill’s excitement in regard to the publicity generated by the peaceful protest.

“I never thought it would be this large and I couldn’t ask for anything better,” said Cope. “It’s been nice.”