On July 1, 2017, a law will come into effect allowing conceal-carry firearms on public college and university campuses in Kansas. In keeping with previous legislation, no training or permitting will be required. This policy, known as "campus carry," is a remarkably short-sighted policy, and Kansas Interfaith Action is taking a lead position in organizing opposition to its implementation.
The loosening of gun laws in general is of great concern to our constituents - particularly pastors, who are on the front lines of America's epidemic of gun violence. The introduction of campus carry is even more dangerous, for reasons having to do with the particular population of campuses: it adds an huge element of danger to an already emotionally difficult time, and will certainly result in an increase in suicide, drunken gunplay, and the use of guns (or the threat of guns) in sexual violence; it will also negatively impact academic freedom in that professors and other students will try to avoid contentious issue lest they devolve into violence.
That's why campus carry is opposed by every affected population: students, faculty and staff, parents and grandparents of students, and campus law enforcement -- and, through KIFA, the faith community as well. Unfortunately, the board of regents and the administrations of the colleges and universities are trying to suppress opposition to campus carry, by threatening people's jobs. We won't put up with it.
So far there are small globules of organized opposition at campuses throughout the state. To bring those globules together and increase the opposition, KIFA is announcing the formation of "Kansans Against Campus Carry." Its goal is to develop a strategy that will, in the legislative session in 2017, lead to the continuation of the exemption on conceal carry that the colleges and universities are now enjoying.
In the months to come Reb Moti will be speaking on this issue in Wichita, Salina, Hays, Pittsburg, and Manhattan. Please stay tuned for details. When those meetings happen, please attend, and do all you can to to make sure others attend as well. In the face of implacable administration opposition, we will have to do this the old-fashioned way: with grassroots organizing. It is only through the strong support and participation of those who will be affected by campus carry that we have any chance at all of keeping it from happening.
In the meantime, ask your elected officials and their opponents in the upcoming election their position on "campus carry." Let's make it an electoral issue; that's a good place to start.
Stay tuned for (a lot!) more information.