There has been increasing discussion about changes to Kansas gun policy that will impact state universities beginning in 2017. In light of this, I’d like to outline next steps for the University of Kansas related to guns on our campuses.
In 2013, the Kansas Legislature passed legislation allowing lawful gun owners to carry concealed handguns on all Kansas university campuses and in campus buildings, beginning July 1, 2017. Thus, barring an unlikely change in statute during the next year and half, we must be in compliance with the law by that date.
I want to be clear that I am not in favor of allowing concealed carry on university campuses. I also realize that not everyone at KU or across the state will agree with my opinion. I appreciate that, and as always, I encourage you to share your perspectives with state lawmakers.
But again, unless legislators change state law – which is unlikely given the wide margin by which it was passed – we must be ready to comply with it. That’s why we all need to work together over the next year to determine how to be in compliance with this law on our campuses.
To prepare for the change, the Kansas Board of Regents has been working with universities to amend the Regents’ weapons policy, which applies to all Regents institutions but allows each one to determine some of the specifics of how to implement the policy on their campuses. We expect the Regents to finalize its policy next month.
This is where all of you come in.
Over the next year, you will have opportunities to help shape how we will implement the Regents policy at KU within the constraints of state law. These opportunities will include campus surveys, forums, and other ways for you to provide input, and they will exist both inside and outside university governance. One such opportunity is tomorrow’s University Senate information session on weapons on campus, which will take place from 2:30-4:30 p.m. in Budig Hall and is open to all faculty, staff and students. Another opportunity is the Docking Institute survey of faculty and staff, which I encourage you to complete.
We will provide you plenty of information to prepare for the change as we get closer to July 2017. This is an important and complicated topic, and we will work to ensure every one of you has the information you need to feel as safe as possible.
Nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of our KU community. Thank you for helping to ensure the University of Kansas continues to be a safe and welcoming space for all.