BY CORIE LYNN
Those on the Fort Hays State University campus abide by a variety of policies. One such policy is the University Gun Policy.
This policy was originally passed three years ago and permits the concealed carry of handguns on property owned or leased by FHSU.
“[I]n three years, quite a few people have graduated. There are new people on campus. We just want to make sure we’re letting everyone know [about the gun policy],” said Kaytee Wisley, the Legislative Affairs Director of the Student Government Association.
It is important to note that the policy does not allow for the open carrying of weapons.
A key part of the Gun Policy is that it applies, not only to students, but to anyone on the Fort Hays State campus. Knowing this, as well as the other points of the policy, is important for correctly following the policy.
“I think for the students who want to participate in the policy, they want to conceal carry on campus, I think it’s important they know the guidelines around it so they’re not breaking any of those rules and getting kicked out of campus because they weren’t aware of them,” Wisely said.
In fact, the policy even addresses compliance by staff and students.
“Part of the training to conceal is to know the policy and comply with the policy,” said Natalie Miller, the Chair of the SGA Legislative and Political Action Committee.
The policy includes restrictions on where concealed carry is allowed, what types of weapons can be carried and other restrictions based on Kansas law.
Concealed carry weapons only include handguns. State law also prohibits those under 21, those convicted of a felony or previously involuntary hospitalized for mental illness or substance abuse from participating in concealed carry.
Those participating also cannot be under the influence of alcohol or other drugs to a degree that causes impairment or be addicted to and using illegal substances.
The weapons themselves have a cartridge limitation, cannot be automatic or carried with silencers and can only be fired in city limits in self-defense.
“I think the most important thing is that if they’re concealed carrying, they need to have it on their person at all times,” Wisley said.
While the weapon is carried, it must also be in a holster and cannot be separated from its owner.
The Gun Policy, however, does allow for placing the weapon in a carrier of a sort permitted that carrier is on their person.
“They can keep it in their backpack, but they need to have their backpack with them at any time. If they’re in a class and they have to go to the front of the classroom to write on the board, they have to take their backpack with them. They cannot leave it unattended,” Wisley said.
Miller also reminded that individuals are not permitted to indicate that they have a weapon on their person or even insinuate that is the case.
“They can’t reveal that they are concealed carrying because that could be, in a sense, threatening to some students,” Wisley said.
For students who live on campus, their concealed carry-compliant weapons may be stored in their dorm provided it is secured in its holster and within a policy-compliant container.
Faculty are also permitted to store their weapons in their office as long as the office is locked while they are out of the room and storage does not extend overnight.
Individuals who believe they have witnessed a breach in the campus gun policy should contact FHSU police or city police who will then begin an investigation into the report. No one, however, is allowed to make a report knowing it is false.
Knowing that policy, concealed carry included, can be complicated, the Student Government Association will answer questions regarding any confusing policy.
Emails can be sent to President Brad DeMers or LAD Wisley. The SGA will also take questions and concerns in person at their Town Hall on October 24 from 5 to 6 p.m. in the Memorial Union’s Stouffer Lounge.
“We will take appropriate actions to bring that to the administration or legislature in whatever way we see fit. We want to make sure students are feeling safe and heard whenever they have those issues,” Wisley said.
The full Gun Policy is available online. The Kansas Board of Regents also answers frequently asked questions on their website.