UK Students Lobbying For Weapons On Campus

Oct 30, 2013

A group of students at the University of Kentucky are pushing to allow students to carry concealed weapons on campus.

Students for Concealed Carry set up a table and banners and handed out fliers on campus Tuesday in protest of the school's ban of guns on campus. Members of the group wore empty holsters to symbolize their efforts.

Kentucky Chapter Director Tyler Waide told the Lexington Herald-Leader the students are aiming to get the legislature to change the laws to prevent public universities from issuing such bans.

"Our basic goal is to get legislation passed through the state legislature to prevent public universities from telling students with concealed permits that they cannot carry weapons on campus," said Waide, 22. "Our goal is to get attention and to get our mission out."

University spokesman Jay Blanton said the university's policy has been the same for years: "no one is allowed to carry a weapon on campus."

"That recommendation was offered years ago from safety officials and police to safeguard the campus," Blanton said.

Blanton said the university's policy is a blanket one that respects everyone and safeguards campus. He added that the university supports diverse views, including those held by the student organization.

"We deeply respect that students have differing points of views on issues, including this one," Blanton said. "And, as importantly, we respect that they are able to demonstrate and promote those views in a respectful and civil manner. It's a shared value at the University of Kentucky and one we celebrate."

The Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled that students and staff at public universities may keep guns in cars, but may continue to regulate them elsewhere on campus.

The student organization started in 2007 after the Virginia Tech shooting to advocate for students, faculty and staff to be allowed to carry weapons on campus if they have concealed carry permits. U.K.'s chapter started soon after, Waide said.

"UK is a big campus," said Waide, who said he is a licensed instructor for a weapons course. "It's 30,000 students, and we are going to need a big resounding voice to affect change at the state legislature."

The organization's Facebook page has doubled since its first meeting to 560 likes as of Tuesday night. Waide said he thinks it's going to take a big social media push to bring change nationally.

Chisum Kirby, 20, who was helping pass out fliers, said the response time for police hinders campus safety.

"What is the response time for the police? Three minutes? It takes three seconds to get stabbed," Kirby said