Concealed Carry Questions and Answers
We begin our fall semester on Monday, and many of you have expressed concerns about the recent change in Kansas’ Personal and Family Protection Act affecting concealed carry on campus. I know several of you are anxious over this change in law, and it’s important to be clear what we are and are not allowed to do in this new environment. I also want you to be aware of additional informational resources available so you can take an active role in our efforts to support everyone’s safety.
As you recall, the law now allows most citizens 21 and older to carry concealed handguns into public buildings, including structures on the University of Kansas Lawrence and Edwards Campuses, unless adequate security measures (as defined by the law) are in place to ensure that no one can take a gun into a particular building.
The Kansas Board of Regents weapons policy, the Kansas Attorney General and the KU Weapons Policy offer guidance and rulings that affect what state employees should and shouldn’t do with regard to the law’s implementation at KU. Please understand and follow the law and policies, which can be found at concealedcarry.ku.edu. KU buildings and spaces in them are considered public spaces where concealed carry may not be restricted without adequate security measures and Kansas Attorney General approved signs.
More complete information and links to definitive sources are available on concealedcarry.ku.edu. Based on recent questions to this office and General Counsel, here are important aspects to know:
- When developing syllabi, use resources available at concealdcarry.ku.edu/syllabus-language. Requesting students to refrain from carrying weapons is not appropriate, and doing so could lead to unintended violations of law or policy. Please consult with General Counsel before making changes to the suggested syllabus language.
- Individuals solely assigned to an office at KU may close and lock the door when they are alone in the office; however, offices cannot be declared “gun-free zones,” nor can eligible individuals be barred from carrying a concealed handgun into an office. Follow departmental rules for office hours.
- Faculty and staff are not at liberty to bar others from carrying a concealed handgun. This includes the posting of signs that use the prohibition symbol featuring the red circle and backslash and a handgun. The only signs permitted regarding the carrying of guns must be approved by the Kansas Attorney General.
- Faculty and staff are not permitted to ask those carrying concealed handguns to identify themselves. Additionally, faculty and staff cannot prohibit the possession of ammunition.
- Faculty are not at liberty to change class locations or formats (e.g. from in-person to online) without prior approval as outlined in the Faculty Code of Rights and Responsibilities.
- Faculty may not permanently change the location of their scheduled courses. Follow procedures outlined in University Senate Rules and Regulations.
- You may not use resources or equipment paid for with state appropriated funds – such as your KU email address, printers, paper or other supplies – to advocate for change in the state law. Doing so could violate the law.
- Policy violations will be addressed in accordance with the appropriate code of conduct, employment policy or University Senate Rules and Regulations.
- If you see something, say something. Handguns should always be concealed. If you see a handgun displayed, report it to KU Public Safety, 785-864-5900. Officers will investigate. Call 911 if danger feels imminent. Open carry of all firearms, except by law enforcement officials, is prohibited at KU.
In addition, Associate Professor of Journalism Doug Ward, associate director of the Center for Teaching Excellence has developed guides for handling volatile conversations in the classroom and an FAQ on concealed carry and teaching. He also has written an article featuring experiences of faculty and law enforcement officials from institutions in other states that have made the transition to concealed carry.
Finally, each of us shares concern over the safety of members of our KU community, including the risk of self-harm. If you suspect someone is in emotional distress, please help them find the care or services they may need. KU has confidential resources too, including the Student of Concern Review Team and, for faculty and staff, through Human Resource Management.
Our office is working with Public Safety to schedule a series of workshops and trainings in the weeks ahead that offer opportunities for faculty, staff and graduate assistants to better prepare for their respective work and engagement on campus. As much as we might hope to anticipate every possibility, we must realize the transition is a process. With your input and participation we will continue to learn and adapt. Many questions have been answered and new questions will surely arise. We will work to answer those questions and address your needs.
Thank you and best wishes for a productive and safe school year.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor