To: The Kansas State House, The Kansas State Senate, and Governor Laura Kelly

Kansas Legislature: Keep Our Campuses Gun Free

We refuse to allow firearms on our college campuses. Kansas legislators, we are calling on you to amend the Personal and Family Protection Act to permanently exempt all institutions of higher learning from concealed carry.

Why is this important?

In the state of Kansas, under the Personal and Family Protection Act, it is legal to concealed carry a handgun without a permit or training. Under a state or municipal building exemption, public universities and colleges are not currently required to allow firearms in campus buildings, but this exemption expires on July 1, 2017. After that date, concealed carry will be allowed in campus buildings unless “adequate security measures” are put in place. Considering the costs and planning required to implement “adequate security measures”--there are over 800 buildings on Kansas public university campuses--there is no practical way to maintain gun-free campuses without amending the law.

The Kansas Coalition for a Gun Free Campus and the undersigned university affiliates and other concerned citizens believe that the presence of firearms on our campuses fundamentally alters the nature of the work we do at institutions of higher learning. Numerous Kansas college affiliates have already voiced their concerns, including University of Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, KU Senate President Michael Williams, and forty Kansas State University distinguished professors.

Among the reasons cited for prohibiting the possession of firearms on college campuses are:

1) More accessible weapons means more opportunities for intentional gun violence and accidental discharge.

2) Students, faculty, and staff of color will be disproportionately affected and will be especially vulnerable. The LGBT community, people with disabilities, and other underrepresented groups will also be disproportionately affected.

3) There will be a greater risk of successful suicide attempts, especially in student dormitories and private offices.

4) The presence of firearms limits academic freedom by creating an environment of intimidation and fear.

These are just a few of the many reasons guns do not belong on college campuses. Kansas gun laws allowing concealed carry on campuses will also discourage highly qualified prospective students and faculty from considering our colleges and universities for study or employment; as such, the quality of education will suffer.

We disagree with the notion that arming our colleges will protect us in the event of an active shooter, as it would create confusion and potentially undermine the efforts of law enforcement. Since Kansas does not require permit or training, the chances of successful civilian intervention are even more unlikely. Additionally, as indicated in the arguments above, active shooter situations are far from our only concern.

It is clear to us, the undersigned, that firearms should not be allowed in our classrooms and other campus buildings. We will not rest until Kansas legislators amend the law to address our concerns.

Further reading:

The Kansas Personal and Family Protection Act:

Kansas Board of Regents Weapons Fact Sheet:

Chancellor Gray-Little speaks:

KU Weapons Information Session:

Forty Kansas State Distinguished Professors speak out: