Officials at Barton Community College are preparing for a change in Kansas law that will allow people to carry concealed handguns into buildings on campus. When the BCC Board of Trustees met Tuesday, a draft of a possible weapons policy was reviewed.
“We’re kind of delaying the official policy to see what will come out of Topeka,” Board Chairman Mike Johnson said. The Legislature has discussed amending the law which is scheduled to go into effect on July 1.
Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman said a draft policy identifies safety practices should the law go into effect. Modeled after a policy at Johnson Community College, it encourages individuals to obtain training in the proper handling of concealed handguns.
A notice in the draft policy states: “Any report of weapons being openly displayed on Barton’s campus will be responded to by the Campus Safety Department and the Barton County Sheriff’s Office. The lawful carrying of a concealed handgun should not create concerns on campus; however, anything other than the lawful carrying of a concealed handgun has the potential to create confusion and additional risks and will be responded to by Campus Safety and the Barton County Sheriff’s Office.”
The draft includes requirements for safety and storage. For example, a concealed handgun is to be secured in a holster that completely covers the trigger, and the safety should be on. When a handgun is not under the individual’s exclusive control, it must stored securely (such as inside the owner’s locked vehicle, out of sight). Barton does not provide handgun storage.
“Will our security people carry guns?” trustee Don Learned wanted to know. Heilman said that is one of the things still to be decided. More discussion is expected in May.
The public has had the right to carry concealed handguns into municipal buildings since 2013, but most community colleges — which are treated the same as municipalities for this purpose — applied for a waiver. Johnson noted that community colleges in Garden City and Independence have allowed concealed carry and “have had no incidents. The bigger thing that concerns me is not taking the (concealed carry) course,” he said.
Barton Head of Security Lucas Stoelting said his biggest concern would not be an active shooter.
“If bad things happen, it will be from a negligent discharge,” Stoelting said. He urged board members to carefully consider safety concerns.