Kent State issues cease and desist for open-carry rally

A banner used on Facebook to promote an open-carry rally hosted by Kaitlin Bennett, a Kent State alumna known for her graduation photo with an AR-10.

Kent State issued a cease and desist order Wednesday for Kaitlin Bennett’s open-carry rally planned for Sept. 29, citing that she hadn’t obtained approval required by the university. 

The statement, which does not refer to Bennett by name, said she didn’t register the event through a student organization. The cease and desist letter is addressed to Bennett, with her first name spelled wrong.


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 “The first I heard about (it) was when (a media organization) messaged me on Facebook and asked for a statement,” Bennett said. “I was like, ‘What, they canceled my event? They can’t cancel an open-carry event. They can’t cancel people open carrying. It’s our right to do so.'”

Bennett organized an open-carry event with guests in April when she was a senior biology major. She said the event, which featured speakers, wasn’t registered through a student organization.

“I think (this rally) is different because the whole country is watching,” Bennett said. “They know that people are upset by what I did, so I think they’re trying to prevent any fights from happening and any type of violence. I think … they’re trying to get me not to come. I think they’re trying to nitpick definitions as reasons why.”

Bennett also believes the rally was shut down due to upcoming prevalence of counterprotesters. 

“Everything was perfect until the Black Live Matter group from Cleveland said they were organizing a counter-protest to spite us,” she said. “Their event was called ‘Fight the Right,’ which is inciting violence. Instead of telling them they’re not  welcome to be violent, I feel like they wanted to shut down both sides.”

In the statement, the university said, “A group planning a counterprotest received the same communication.”

Bennett said she’ll continue to try to go through the proper procedures, but will still visit Kent State in September even if she’s not approved.

“If it doesn’t get approved, hundreds of us will show up with our guns, and we’ll walk around campus,” she said. “That is legal, and we can legally do that.”  

Henry Palattella is the editor. Contact him at [email protected]

Nicholas Hunter is the opinion editor. Contact him at [email protected].