Concealed-carry policy approved at university in Topeka

KENT’S NOTE: This story comes from the Associated Press

TOPEKA, Kan. — Washburn University’s board of regents has approved a campus concealed-carry policy.

The board at the Topeka school unanimously approved the gun policy without discussion Thursday, the Topeka Capital-Journal ( ) reported.

“Unfortunately it’s come about and now we have to be prepared for it,” Washburn President Jerry Farley said.

The policy requires campus housing residents to safely secure and conceal handguns from sight on themselves, in their dorm or in the trunk of their car. A student will be subject to criminal charges if the weapon is used improperly.

A Kansas law passed in 2013 allows for keeping concealed guns out of public college and university buildings only as long as certain security measures are installed at entrances. Washburn officials said that making those enhancements would be too costly.

A 2015 Docking Institute of Public Affairs survey shows 53 percent of Washburn students didn’t want concealed weapons on campus.

Concealed carry “threatens to restrict open discussion and debate, presents dangers for the physical safety of students, faculty and staff, and hampers the ability of institutions to recruit faculty and staff and thrive within their budgets,” a Washburn Faculty Senate statement to the regents said.

Faculty Senate President Shaun Schmidt said the group is confident Washburn police will respond to weapon-related emergencies, but his main concern is with potential suicides and accidental discharges.

Washburn University Chief of Police Chris Enos said public information and educational materials will be given to students once the gun policy takes effect July 1 to promote safety.


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