- Associated Press - Thursday, November 26, 2015

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - University students in Kansas are starting to talk about a day in the not-too-distant future when anyone over 21 who legally owns a gun will be allowed to carry it onto campuses.

Many who grew up in the largely rural state are comfortable with the idea, while others say allowing a bunch of people to roam freely among the student body with guns will be an absolute disaster. A third group doesn’t necessarily oppose concealed carry but is concerned about the lack of a training requirement, The Wichita Eagle (https://bit.ly/1XmAxf1 ) reported.

Legislation passed in 2012 required concealed-carry permit holders to be allowed to carry their weapons in almost all public buildings. Earlier this year, the Legislature revoked the permit requirement and passed a bill allowing anyone who can lawfully own a gun to carry it loaded and hidden without a permit or training.

For a public agency to ban guns in a particular building, it must provide adequate security measures - such as metal detectors, metal detector wands or similar devices - to make sure no weapons are permitted inside.

Universities can ban guns on campus until July 1, 2017, to give them time to adjust to the new requirements. The Kansas Board of Regents has circulated a draft policy that would ban open carrying of firearms - which the regents are still allowed to do - but allow concealed carry.

Also, a committee comprised of student body presidents from all state universities has invited the system’s students to complete a survey gauging attitudes about guns on campus. Results are expected sometime next month.

The survey has stirred a new interest in the topic among students who until now have been mostly silent.

The biggest resistance has been at the University of Kansas, where student activists have demanded a campus gun ban as part of a list demands for more diversity and “safe spaces” for students to pursue their education. Campus activist group Rock Chalk Invisible Hawk plans on speaking to lawmakers “and letting them know that KU is pretty much in opposition to conceal and carry on campus,” said Katherine Rainey, a senior from Shawnee.

Shane Bangerter, chairman of the state Board of Regents, said every university will be taking a hard look at the board’s draft policy. Responses are expected next month and will be considered alongside the student survey results.

He said he doesn’t know if guns will make campuses more or less safe.

“It probably will be neither,” he said. “Only students over 21 will be allowed to carry, and of those, only a small percentage of the population is going to exercise that right.”

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Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, https://www.kansas.com

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