Controversy has come to the college with the passing of campus Concealed Carry in the state of Kansas. Although they agree the overall atmosphere of the college has not changed, three staff members have differing views of the new law.
Frank Syracuse, professor and department chair of business administration, is in favor of the policy.
“I am a big fan of Concealed Carry,” Syracuse said. “I think the last statistic I heard was that 28 out of the last 30 mass shootings happened in gun-free zones. Florida comes to mind, I think 49 people were killed, and many more wounded. I think someone who had a concealed carry permit would have been able to drastically reduce that number.”
Although Syracuse is in favor of Concealed Carry, he believes the process of obtaining the permit should have the restrictions it used to.
“[I got] Concealed Carry back when you had to take a class, an exam, and demonstrate in writing, and actual proficiency with shooting a handgun to qualify for it,” Syracuse said. “I absolutely believe that should still be the case in every state.”
While Syracuse believes the diversity of people in the U.S. counters the concept of gun control working in other countries, Assistant Professor of Economics Dan Owens believes the statistics still stand.
“I think that statistics are clear about, that even if you adjust for cultural differences, where there’s fewer guns, there’s less [deadly] violence,” Owens said.
He stated that allowing citizens to carry guns on campus is going to create more problems that it is going to solve.
“Our campuses are already safe,” Owens said. “Our hospitals are already safe. Part of the reason is that all of those institutions have established security forces. Why our campus is safe is that we have some highly trained and dedicated police officers, but also the staff is trained in safety.”
Owens thinks that someone in the emotional, wrong state of mind will not be deterred by the new signs since violence is not a cost-benefit decision, and someone thinking that way would not consider what would happen next. Syracuse disagrees.
“I was worried the entire time that we had [gun free signs] posted everywhere,” Syracuse said, “because if I was someone who wanted to do harm I’d think ‘that’s where I’m going to go,’ and the stats show it.”
In contrast to the clear views of Owens and Syracuse, Counselor Dave Ellis can see both sides.
“If we went back to the policy of not having concealed carry on campus, I’d be happy with that,” Ellis said. “My personal opinion is that what we’re doing now is fine. I think it could’ve happened to any of us, at any time. Somebody could come in that door whether we have a sign or not.”
Ellis is not concerned about the new policy, but he can see how someone could be.
“This is not something I come to work every day worrying about,” Ellis said. “After listening to some people, I can see how they can be worried.”
To check out the rest of The Ledger’s coverage on Concealed Carry, check here.