Beginning July 1st, 2017, all Kansas University campuses will be allowing gun owners to carry concealed guns on campus grounds.
Since Kansas is a neighboring state to Missouri, this has raised questions about what this will mean for the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus.
Missouri Senate Bill 589, which is a bill that would remove the ban on carrying concealed firearms in higher education institutions, is currently still pending. If Senate Bill 589 were to be passed, then all university and community campuses in Missouri would allow concealed weapons on campus.
Students at UMKC had a variety of opinions on whether the bill should be passed or vetoed. Student Xavier Salas believes that the bill passing would not be for the better.
“As long as there is security to watch over us,” Salas said, “then I think that’s all we need. I don’t think we need teachers or staff to carry weapons either. I think it will cause more disaster and more violence.”
Another student, Robert Jarrett, disagreed.
“We’re a school that’s in the middle of a city,” Jarrett said. “Students should be allowed to take any action they want if it’s for the benefit for their safety.”
Bianca DiCarlo, another student at UMKC, believes that the change of gun laws on campuses in Kansas means that Missouri won’t be far behind.
“There will always be those people who break the law no matter what,” said DiCarlo. “But I believe violence will decrease if students, faculty, and staff are allowed to carry a gun on campus.”
A few weeks ago, an email was sent out to UMKC teachers and staff in the College of Arts & Sciences department offering sign up for an “Active Shooter Training”. The email was sent to help faculty, staff, and students in preparation for any future incidents that may occur on campus.
Peter Morello, professor at UMKC, said that he would participate in taking part in one of the trainings but that we should still leave guns to professionals who know how to use them.
“Allowing conceal and carry on campus would create an element to teaching which would potentially impact student learning,” Morello said. He believes that as a whole conceal and carry on campus will take away from the learning experience.
Halle Ponick, student at UMKC, believes that people with conceal and carry licenses are probably already carrying on campus whether we know it or not.
“Most people who carry at a place like a college campus generally have a reason why they feel it is necessary,” said Ponick. “I would like to think that the people who find it necessary to carry have the best intentions in mind and aren’t just doing it to do it or cause anyone harm.”
In regards to being safe on campus, Chief of Police at UMKC, Michael Bongartz, said that everyone should always be aware of their surroundings, on and off campus.
“If an individual sees suspicious activity or a suspicious individual, they should contact the police immediately.” said Bongartz.