A professor at the University of Kansas wore a bulletproof vest to class on the first day to protest the Kansas’s campus carry law.
According to the the University Daily Kansan, professor of film and media studies Kevin Wilmott entered his classroom on August 22 in his vest and told students, “Try to forget that I’m wearing a vest, and I’ll try to forget that you could be packing a .44 magnum.”
Wilmott passed out a handout called “Why I Decided to Teach in a Bulletproof Vest,” Willmott wrote that a Muslim professor told him during a recent open meeting about the new law that she feared campus carry would “affect free speech in her class.”
Wilmott told the Kansan he wants to wear the vest for about a year.
“Students are scared, professors are scared,” Willmott said. “I think even the administration is frustrated and feeling a little helpless right now. And so, for me, the vest becomes a way for this invisible gun to be exposed.”
A comparable campus carry law went into effect in Texas in 2016 and gun control activists reacted similarly to Wilmott, but according to a story in the Texas Tribune last November, “fears of violence or accidental shootings haven’t been realized.”
The Kansas state legislature passed an amendment to the Personal and Family Protection Act back in 2013 that required all public facilities, except public schools, to allow concealed carry unless they have appropriate security measures.
These security measures would include metal detectors at every public access entryway and armed security.
The University of Kansas, a public university, was allowed to apply for a 4-year exemption to develop guidelines for implementing the new law at the time it passed. That exemption expired back on July 1.
Among the requirements, an individual must be at least 21 years of age to carry a concealed firearm in Kansas. Convicted felons and other prohibited persons cannot acquire and carry a firearm.
A permit will not be necessary is not necessary to carry concealed as a result of a 2015 law passed by the Kansas state legislature allowing state residents to carry a firearm concealed without needing a license to do so.
Students carrying concealed cannot carry everywhere on campus. If a building can only be accessed by an entrance with a metal detector and armed security, a firearm is not allowed inside. Firearms are also not restricted in placs that can only be accessed with security badges or confidential passcodes like labs. Additionally, individuals cannot carry their firearms while drinking alcohol.
Nine other states have already established campus carry laws, by either legislation or court decisions.