Kansas bill would expand concealed carrying on college campuses

LAWRENCE, Kan. - Kansas lawmakers are considering allowing concealed guns on college campuses, despite a mountain of opposition.

At the University of Kansas Student Union, a sign at the entrance banning guns mirrors the Student Senate's feelings. In February, members passed a resolution against concealed carrying on campus.

"It passed overwhelmingly with 46 approved, eight against and three voting abstained," Student Senate member Zach George said.

The Kansas Board of Regents also said it opposes concealed carrying, saying that college campuses are already safe places.

That's another reason George is surprised by a piece of Kansas legislation. House Bill 2055 just passed a committee, allowing designated staff members at public schools and colleges to carry concealed guns inside buildings where they're currently banned.

"There's a large opposition on campus of students not wanting this to go through the state legislature," George said.

KU student and member of the Marksmanship Club, Azmi Azahari, disagrees with the Student Senate's position on concealed carrying.

"It's about protecting lives and it's not about taking away others," he said.

Azahari believes staff should carry concealed guns in public places, like the classroom. But Azahari said he only wants to see the firearms if they're truly needed.

"I don't want to be a victim of such shootings and become a statistic in a lecture in some government building," Azahari said.

Other portions of HB 2055 would legalize concealed guns inside state and local government buildings, unless they have scanners or officers to check for weapons.

The bill comes at a time when many Kansans want concealed carry permits.

The Attorney General's office said more than 53,000 people obtained permits since 2006. Last month, nearly 3,600 people applied for permits, which is a record for a single month.

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