Faculty members visit Topeka in support of firearms ban

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Members of the college's Faculty Association and Faculty Senate have been speaking in Topeka this last week in support of a bill exempting the college from concealed carry laws. Photo by Aviper2k7, Creative Commons.

Kim Harms

Sports editor

kharms3@jccc.edu

Members of the college’s Faculty Association, along with other colleges and public institutions, traveled to Topeka on Jan. 26 to share their testimonies in support of Kansas Senate Bill 53.

The bill would extend the current ban on firearms at colleges and other state-owned facilities if passed. The current exemption is set to expire on July 1 of this year.

Melanie Harvey, vice president of the Faculty Association, was one of several who gave a testimony. She said that because of the large amount of those giving a testimony, supporters were only allowed 90 seconds to speak.

“The room was very crowded. People had to save a seat for me or else I would not have been able to get into the room,” Harvey said. “They limited [the speakers] to 90 seconds and that was for supporters of the bill … there were only five people who opposed the bill so they were given [more time] to talk.”

Harvey was the only one to speak from the college, however, she said that other than faculty, students, graduates, nurses and mothers were among those who chose to give a testimony.

“I think the most compelling [testimonies] for me, were the people that work at [universities and hospitals],” Harvey said.

In Harvey’s original testimony, she included a joint statement that was approved by the college’s Faculty Association and Faculty Senate on Jan. 19.

“It is the position of the JCCC Faculty that the presence of guns in the classroom is fundamentally incompatible with the free and civil exchange of ideas and the open discussion of difficult and controversial topics that are the hallmark of high education,” the statement read.

Harvey mentioned that in a faculty survey 80 percent of faculty opposed conceal carry on campus.

“While we recognize that opinions vary on the matter, a strong majority of our faculty oppose the presence of guns in JCCC classrooms and buildings,” the statement included.

Harvey and the association agreed that the decisions on this matter would be best determined by those who are either familiar with the situation or directly impacted by it.

“Our police officers, our security officers, our board of trustees, employees … we know what the population is like,” Harvey said. “We know the diversity of the classrooms, we understand the buildings; given all of that it should be left up to the people in charge of the safety of the college to decide what would be the best for us.

Hearings are currently continuing while the bill has been blocked by the senate.

3 COMMENTS

  1. We are Americans…regardless of party lines we shouldn’t accept a standard of living like that in Israel where they have to arm their teachers. That’s not something we should find as acceptable for our kids to put up with.
    Also your idea that teacher’s should find a “safer profession” is quite alarming. Teaching should not be an unsafe profession. This is our children and their education. It shouldn’t be compromised by someone having a weapon on campus and choosing to take out their frustration on a liberal or conservative.

    • Your sense of irony seems to be broken. It has little to do with what we’re willing to accept. Things are brought to us and we have to deal with them. In the 1990s, Muslim extremists declared war on the west but the leadership of the western countried didn’t even acknowledge that declaration so we (the public) was caught totally by suprise on the morning of 9/11. We don’t want people to shoot up schools but someone out there may have different ideas on the topic. It seems like you’re putting your head in the sand by saying “we will not accept this” and then continue to ignore a problem. You’ll have to ask the “experts” which is more likely today; an attack by an unbalanced student or an attack by a domestic terrorist. Concealed carry will help prevent either.

  2. When was the last time a knock down, drag out fight erupted in a classroom? Other than an accident or an act of terrorism that would be the only time to be concerned about firearms. I would also point out that many times people have gotten into fights that were armed but did not go to their weapon to win. How many school shootings has their been in this country to date? How many occurred in a “gun free zone”? The short answer is; All of Them. Guns in the classroom…we have members of law enforcement in our classes and I know that they are armed. I have no problem as a student knowing that someone may be armed. I just know that some teachers probably angonize every single day in a cold sweat about the slight possibility of a weapon in a classroom. They probably need to find another, safer, profession. Less stressful that way.
    In Israel, who knows about violence, it is the law that an armed teacher will accompany students when they go out in groups. They are also authorized to shoot to kill to protect their students. I’m not talking a handgun, I’m talking about a combat rifle. I’ve seen it in action and guess what, I wasn’t worried about accidents or interstudent fights.
    It has long been a ridiculous belief by the left that the mere presence of firearms CAUSES outbreaks of violence. A statistician will tell you that there is plenty of violence without firearms and that firearms don’t cause violence. People do. I think the thinking is that if July 1st arrives and nothing happens….well, their entire argument for all these years will be shown to be bogus.

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