By SCOTT ROTHSCHILD, The Lawrence Journal-World
TOPEKA — The Kansas Board of Regents has directed universities to conduct a building-by-building assessment on their campuses of the impact of allowing concealed carry of guns.
"We are trying to educate ourselves," said Regents Chairman Fred Logan Jr. of Leawood.
Legislation approved last session and signed into law by Gov. Sam Brownback expanded where people with concealed carry permits can take their guns.
The new law allows the weapons into public buildings that don't have certain types of security measures, such as metal detectors and trained guards.
Many of these public entities, including universities, have received temporary exemptions under the law. Universities have taken a four-year exemption.
But after 2017, campus buildings must allow concealed carry unless the building has adequate security.
Logan said a building-by-building study may help the regents and legislators determine if there need to be any changes or future exceptions to the law.
There are more than 850 buildings in the university system, including those with child care, labs with chemicals, dormitories, sports complexes, student unions and others.
Regent Tim Emert of Independence noted that the Kansas University Medical Center has numerous exits and entrances.
Kansas University officials declined to comment on the building assessment, but school officials have consistently opposed allowing concealed carry onto campus.
In 2012, Richard Johnson, chief of University Police at KU Medical Center, said allowing concealed carry on campuses would increase security risks and complicate the job of law enforcement.
"Police must treat any report of an armed individual on campus with extreme caution and rapid response," Johnson testified to the Legislature. "How does the responding officer know which person in the classroom of 300 students is legally in possession of a firearm or is armed with the intention of killing others?"
Regents members and staff say they expect the system-wide assessment to take the better part of a year.
In addition to enumerating entrances and exits, they want to know each building's hours of operation, average occupancy, proximity to campus police or other police, the existing security situation, and any other special considerations.
"Any information that they want to provide us would be great," Logan said.