Open carry supporters to congregate on Kent campus

Addie Gall

As the debate about gun legislation continues to spread across the country, advocates for the second amendment will be coming to Kent State April 27 to spur dialogue with students about how the right to keep and bear arms is central to an individual’s liberties.

Kaitlin Bennett — senior biology major, former president of Kent State’s disbanded Turning Point USA chapter and current president of “Liberty Hangout” — is organizing the event with Jeffry Smith, an open carry activist, who has led nine campus walks similar to this at a variety of college campuses, one of them being Kent State two years ago.

At Kent State, students, faculty and staff are prohibited from possessing a weapon on campus at all times. However, visitors are permitted to carry on campus but can not enter buildings with their guns.

According to the National Conference of State Legislature, there are 16 states that ban carrying a concealed weapon on a college campus: California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina and Wyoming.

In 23 states, this decision is individually decided on by each college or university: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

Recently, 10 states have made provisions allowing concealed weapons on public post-secondary campuses: Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin. Tennessee allows only faculty members with licenses to carry weapons on campus.

Bennet said one of the issues they are protesting is students not being permitted to carry on campus.

“We think that if guests can walk on here with an AR-15 then students should be able to walk on here with an AR-15 and also be able to carry their handguns if they have a concealed carry license,” Bennett said.

Bennett said that those participating in the open-carry will likely gather on Risman Plaza, to create a conversation with students about the second amendment.

“I hope they understand that citizens with guns that are responsible are not the problem,” Bennett said. “I hope we can talk to them about gun statistics because the gun statistics don’t back up gun control they don’t back up or confirm that we should have gun control.”

Addie Gall is the student politics reporter. Contact her at [email protected].