Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Kansas Board of Regents indicates it will pursue in-depth study of new concealed carry law

By SCOTT ROTHSCHILD, The Lawrence Journal-World

VALLEY FALLS, KAN. — The Kansas Board of Regents on Tuesday indicated it would pursue an in-depth study of the recent law that will allow concealed carry of handguns on the campuses of higher education institutions.

The board had opposed expansion of concealed carry, but during the last legislative session the Legislature approved the proposal by wide margins and Gov. Sam Brownback signed it into law.

The new law allows licensed concealed carry on public college campuses, but gave schools up to a four-year reprieve from the law.

The regents have taken an immediate six-month exemption for universities, and could later file for the longer exemption, which would extend through 2017.

The regents discussed the issue during their annual retreat here on Tuesday. Chairman Fred Logan said the regents need to study if there are areas on campuses where concealed carry shouldn't be allowed, such as at athletic events or in classrooms or certain laboratories.

"It's naive to believe that any time soon we are going to go to a generalized exemption," Logan said.

But Regent Ed McKechnie said he wasn't willing to let legislators feel the board is OK with the new law. "Just because the Legislature has done something wrong, I don't know that I want to go along with that," McKechnie said.

Other regents, however, said they believed an exhaustive study of how the law will affect overall security in the more than 850 higher education buildings would be helpful if the board decides to seek future exemptions in specific areas.

For instance, Regent Robba Moran said that while she supports gun rights, she didn't think it was wise to allow concealed carry at athletic events.

"At the sporting venue, you have tempers flaring and you have alcohol and that is different than a classroom," Moran said.