FAQs

Faculty, staff and students have posed a number of questions related to Kansas' Personal and Family Protection Act as well as KU and Kansas Board of Regents policies that address concealed carry and firearms on campus. If you have a question you do not see answered here or elsewhere on this website that you would like to be considered for this page, please submit it.

Compliance with law or policy

How does KU policy differ from Kansas law?

Kansas law (the Personal Family and Protection Act) requires public agencies, including state universities, to allow individuals age 21 and over to carry concealed handguns into facilities the agencies own or lease, except in areas where adequate security measures are provided or in areas determined by the agencies to be restricted access areas.  Board of Regents policy and University policy provide guidance on implementation of the concealed carry law, such as what constitutes appropriate concealment of a handgun, or what areas of campus will have adequate security measures.  A violation of policy may result in an individual being removed from the facility or denied entry.  KU students and employees may also be subject to other university disciplinary actions.

 

Why is the weapons policy needed?

KU has had a formal weapons policy since 1999. It defines expectations as well as possible repercussions for violating the policy. The new concealed carry policy identifies circumstances under which adequate security measures prevent concealed carry and other specific ways to implement the policy as allowed by the Kansas Board of Regents policy and the Personal Family and Protection Act.

 

Is this a state-mandated situation? How does KU policy differ from Kansas law?

Yes, the state legislature passed this law in 2013 (which becomes effective for universities on July 1, 2017) requiring public agencies, including state universities, to allow concealed carry except when adequate security measures are in place or in other limited circumstances.  As such, KU is obligated to follow the law. KU and Kansas Board of Regents policies define public areas on campus affected by the law and outline procedures for the safe possession of concealed handguns and responsibilities of the carrier.

 

If a student carries a handgun in a backpack or purse, can a faculty member make the student leave the backpack or purse by the wall or door of the classroom during an exam? 

As with existing practice, faculty can continue to require backpacks and purses to be separated from students during exams. Because KU policy requires that a concealed handgun must be physically on the person carrying it, this leaves students (and visitors) with limited choices. Students can transfer a handgun from a backpack or purse to a secure location (such as the trunk of their locked vehicle or a gun safe in their residence) prior to arriving at class, or students can carry the handgun concealed on their body.

 

Will instructors be aware of the identity of the individuals who have concealed firearms in their classes?

Generally no.  Because there is no registry of individuals carrying, instructors will only be aware if a person voluntarily self-identifies as a person carrying a concealed handgun.

 

Can KU issue its own concealed carry permit?

No.

 

If people are carrying a gun, are we supposed to find out that they have a gun?

No. Additionally, per the Kansas Board of Regents, neither the university nor instructors can require concealed carry holders to declare themselves.  University faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to report suspected violations of the concealed carry law and the weapons policy to the appropriate campus threat assessment team, identified in each campus’s implementing policy, or to KU Public Safety by calling 911. University police will investigate and determine if the display or possession of the firearm is a violation of law, or of Board of Regents or university policy.

 

How are the law and policy going to be regulated?

Just as with any other law, effective enforcement relies upon reports from citizens. KU Public Safety will investigate all reports. University faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to report suspected violations. University police will investigate and determine if the display or possession of the firearm is a violation of law, or of Board of Regents or university policy. Violation of KU policy may result in disciplinary actions for KU employees or students.

 

If I am working with someone who has a handgun that is only partially concealed and I see it, or it is inadvertently revealed, do I have to help this person in my service job at KU?

Inadvertent exposure of a concealed weapon is not necessarily a violation of the law or policy.  Handguns that are continuously only partially concealed would be in violation and should be reported to law enforcement.  

The decision on whether or not to provide service may be dependent upon the circumstances surrounding the exposure.  Inadvertent exposure is not necessarily a violation of the law or policy. Brandishing of a weapon or threatening gestures are not allowed unless in good faith defense of self or others.  Threatening behavior is not tolerated.  See “What to Do When…”

 

Can the university require any kind of gun registration for people who carry handguns?

No.

 

I know first-hand of an accidental shooting involving a handgun in a backpack at my high school. What measures are in place to prevent accidental discharge?

KU policy requires handguns to be secured in a holster that completely covers the trigger guard area.  Handguns with an external hammer must be secured in an un-cocked position through the use of a strap or others means. The safety must be on. Semiautomatic handguns must be carried without a chambered round of ammunition. Revolvers must be carried with the hammer resting on an empty cylinder.

 

Making restrictions on the condition of the firearm, such as mandating an unloaded chamber, goes against the benefit of carrying a concealed firearm. How is it legal that KU can make the concealed carry policy stricter than the state law?

The law does not specify several aspects - such as the state of the firearm, or how “concealed” is consistently defined - meaning these concepts are open to interpretation through Regents and KU policy. The Kansas Attorney General, who has the authority to issue opinions regarding Kansas state law, has issued an opinion authorizing such restrictions.

 

What happens if someone is detained by law enforcement for illicit drug or alcohol use on campus and a firearm is revealed?

Possession of a firearm while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a violation of a different Kansas law. The outcome of such an encounter may be dependent upon a variety of other factors such as how the handgun is revealed and whether threatening behavior is involved.

 

If I clearly see the outline or shape of handgun under someone’s clothing, is that a violation of the KU policy or the law?

If the handgun itself is not visible, it is not likely to be a violation of KU policy.  If there are doubts, call KU Public Safety Office or 911.

 

What can individuals do to change the law?

The University of Kansas is obligated to follow this law and any changes to the law must come through the state legislative process.  Students, faculty and staff who wish to advocate for change should take care to ensure they use their personal resources, such as non-university email accounts, and personal time in their efforts. K.S.A. 75-67053 prohibits the use of state appropriated funds from supporting publicity or propaganda designed to support or defeat gun control measures at the federal, state, or local level.

 

Training and Education

Will there be trainings offered to instructors on how to handle conflict and what to do in the event of a mass shooting?

KU Public Safety Office provides a variety of workshops, talks, and trainings, as well as information sheets on topics such as de-escalation techniques, suicide threat, and active shooter.  Visit the Public Safety Office site to learn about resources or request a program. 

The alerts.ku.edu website also offers a section specifically on response to active shooter or other threat.  The page contains the “Run. Hide. Fight.” video.

 

What kind of training about living and working around guns is available?

The Kansas Attorney General Office maintains a list of certified concealed carry handgun instructors in Kansas.

 

I will be a new GTA. How will the university prepare me to handle conflict with the potential for guns to be in the room?

Work with your department to contact KU Public Safety in advance. KU Public Safety can provide a variety of workshops and information to help you prepare for many situations.

 

What crisis and emergency management preparation training is available for KU employees?

The University of Kansas makes its emergency plan as well as training available through the Public Safety Office website. KU follows the Incident Command System and provides training opportunities to assist campus community members in planning for all types of emergencies. The courses build knowledge on how the university structure adapts to respond to emergencies and how KU works with local, state, and federal agencies.  All members of the KU community are invited to learn more about developing a personal action plan. All KU buildings have floor plans posted that can help individuals determine emergency exit plans.

 

Is there specific training for staff who work at high traffic areas? Knowing that a phone call to KU Police might escalate the situation, what can staff do when they encounter confrontational or unsettling behavior from angry individuals or someone with mental health concerns?

KU Public Safety Office provides guidance and information on de-escalation techniques as well as recommendations on how to address civil disturbance, including threatening individuals. This information is available on the Public Safety Office website.

 

Will KU require those who bring guns to campus to take gun-safety courses?

No. Kansas Board of Regents policy does not allow the university to ask individuals to reveal whether or not they are carrying a concealed handgun.

 

Will the university sponsor gun-safety initiatives?

The university will offer a number of information sessions to help campus members understand the law as well as the KU policy, help individuals understand rights and responsibilities and highlight campus resources.  Each individual who lawfully possesses a handgun on any KU campus is wholly and solely responsible for carrying, storing and using the handgun in a safe manner and in accordance with the law, Board of Regents policy, and KU policy.

 

Mental Health/Intervention

Given that suicide is among the leading causes of death for people ages 15-24 and 25-34, and that 54 percent of suicides in the United States involve firearms, how will the university address depression and mental health of its people?

KU’s Counseling and Psychological Services added additional counseling staff positions during the 2016 calendar year.  Members of the KU community also can play an important role in ensuring individuals who appear at risk get the help they may need. 

If the person is a student, you can confidentially contact the Student of Concern Review Team.  You also can encourage the student to contact KU's Counseling and Psychological Services, 785-864-2277.

If the person is a member of the KU faculty or a staff member, contact Human Resource Management, hrdept@ku.edu, 785-864-4946.

In case of imminent danger, call 911 immediately.

 

Personal safety

What are the risks deaths by firearms?

Many of the concerns brought to the attention of the Provost Office relate to active shooter and attack. The following is in no way meant to dismiss the concerns, but it’s important to know that the greater risk from firearms is self-harm.

The most recent statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control show that in 2011 nearly two-thirds (64.9%) of deaths from firearms were suicide.

Nationally, deaths by firearms ranks third on the list of causes of injury related deaths after 1) Poisonings at 26 percent, and 2) motor vehicles at 16.9%

  • Poisoning deaths: 51,966 - 26%
  • Motor vehicle deaths: 33,736 - 16.9%
  • Firearm deaths: 32,865 - 16.8%
    • Suicide: 21,334 - 64.9%
    • Homicide: 10,945 - 33.3%
    • Unintentional/accidental: 586 - 1.7%

If you suspect a member of the KU community is experiencing difficulty coping with their circumstances and may be at risk to harm themselves or others, please speak up so that person can get help they may need.

If the person is a student, you can confidentially contact the Student of Concern Review Team.  You also can encourage the student to contact KU's Counseling and Psychological Services, 785-864-2277.

If the person is a member of the KU faculty or a staff member, contact Human Resource Management, hrdept@ku.edu, 785-864-4946.

In case of imminent danger, call 911 immediately.

 

Even the most careful gun owners can have accidents. What is KU doing to prevent accidental discharge of firearms?

The KU concealed carry policy requires the handgun be secured in a holster that completely covers the trigger area. Moreover, handguns with an external hammer must be secured in an un-cocked position through the use of a strap or others means. The safety must be on. Semiautomatic handguns must be carried without a chambered round of ammunition. Revolvers must be carried with the hammer resting on an empty cylinder.

 

From both a safety and compliance standpoint, what should people do if they find a gun on the ground?

In the unlikely event that one finds a discarded handgun, call KU Public Safety Office immediately: 785-864-5900 on the Lawrence campus, or on the Edwards Campus, 913-897-8700.

 

How can I identify a safety plan on the spot?

The first step, whether on campus or elsewhere, is to be alert and aware of your surroundings.

At KU, there are a number of services aimed at increasing safety:

  • KU Alert system with text messaging, email, and building specific broadcast alerts.
  • Blue light emergency phones.
  • Emergency evacuation plans. All KU buildings have an emergency evacuation plan and a building liaison. Evacuation drills are required annually. Emergency exit floor plans are posted in all buildings.  Individuals with disabilities are strongly encouraged to create and file a Personal Action Plan.
  • Public Safety Office trainings and talks.
  • Public Safety Office information sheets on numerous topics, including one on personal safety.

 

Does KU have an emergency response plan? If so where can I view a copy of it, and how can I learn about plans for the buildings I spend considerable time in?

Yes. You can view a copy of the emergency plan online. In addition, all KU buildings have an emergency evacuation plan as well as Building Liaisons to assist with evacuation.  Building floor plans marked with emergency exit routes are posted throughout all KU buildings. The signs can be found near every stairwell, elevator, and exit on every floor of every building.

 

Am I responsible for disarming an active shooter?

No. More information about how to respond during an active shooter/attack threat is available on the KU Alerts website.

 

In the event of an emergency, how do I help others survive?

The most important action is to call 911 immediately. Remain calm and prepare to provide information, such as the nature of the emergency and your location. Information about how to respond during an active shooter/attack threat is available on the KU Alerts website. Contact KU Public Safety in advance to receive training on appropriate response to threatening situations.

 

What are we to do if a concealed gun accidentally discharges? Who will be held accountable?

Call 911 and offer as much information as possible.  Each individual who lawfully possesses a handgun on any KU campus is wholly and solely responsible for carrying, storing and using the handgun in a safe manner and in accordance with the law, Board of Regents policy, and KU policy.

 

What actions can or should someone take if they perceive a threatening gesture or action by another, such as patting the concealed weapon, or purposefully revealing the holstered weapon? Please address a variety of scenarios for the threatened individual such as an administrator making decisions on staff requests, a faculty member assigning low or failing grades, or a student working on a team project with other students.

Except for purposes of defense of self or others, brandishing of handguns and threatening behavior is not tolerated. Call 911 immediately.

 

 

Spaces

Can “private” offices restrict guns?

No, although Kansas Board of Regents Policy allows individuals solely assigned to an office to lock the door, provided that doing so doesn’t interfere with policies regarding maintaining office hours.

 

Are the lockers in Ambler Recreation Center considered approved storage devices for handguns?

No, while the lockers at Ambler are lockable, they were not designed by the manufacturer for the storage of firearms and were not placed in the facility with the knowledge that firearms might be stored in them. Rec center patrons who choose to carry a concealed handgun are advised that when taking part in activities that make it impossible to keep a handgun concealed - such as needing to change clothing or when in close physical contact with others - they should first properly store their handgun in their vehicle or residence. KU does not provide approved secure storage for handguns.

 

As faculty are we allowed to suggest that people leave their guns elsewhere when they meet with us in our offices? 

Faculty cannot prohibit students from concealed carry.  A suggestion that a student leave a handgun elsewhere could be interpreted as an attempt to prohibit concealed carry and is not recommended.

 

Will any additional security measures be implemented in campus buildings to provide adequate security that would eliminate the option of concealed carry in those spaces?

Through strategic realignment efforts, additional KU Public Safety patrol officers are being hired and KU Public Safety Office is acquiring a limited number of portable screening devices that meet the requirements outlined in the law. Procedures will be developed to request the adequate security measures and personnel for campus events in specific venues.

 

The building where I spend most of my time is open early and late and does not appear to have safety officers, cameras or other means of monitoring the security of the building or the safety of its people. What safeguards will KU implement in a building that seems “unsafe” for us?

Your safety is important. KU Police officers are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and additional patrol officers are being hired prior to July 1, 2017, to increase their physical presence around campus.

Building concerns should be addressed on a structure-by-structure basis by the units responsible for each building. What is appropriate for one building may not be appropriate or possible for another. Please share your concerns and observations with your supervisor and contact KU Public Safety Office to better understand security measures that may already be in place.

Please take a moment to review personal safety actions you can take to be more aware of and in control of your surroundings. At KU, there are a number of services aimed at increasing safety:

  • KU Alert system with text messaging, email, and building specific broadcast alerts.
  • Blue light emergency phones.
  • Emergency evacuation plans. All KU buildings have an emergency evacuation plan and a building liaison. Evacuation drills are required annually. Emergency exit floor plans are posted in all buildings.  Individuals with disabilities are strongly encouraged to create and file a Personal Action Plan.
  • Public Safety Office trainings and talks.
  • Public Safety Office information sheets on numerous topics, including one on personal safety.

 

I’m very concerned about areas of campus that have volatile chemicals or gases not being restricted. What measures are being taken to prevent discharge of firearms in these areas?

These areas will be reviewed to determine whether all weapons, including concealed carry handguns, will be prohibited. The law and Board of Regents and university policies provide for restricted access areas, such as those in which release of volatile chemicals and gases can be life-threatening.

 

 

National practices

How many other states allow concealed carry on college campuses?

Laws regarding concealed carry of handguns vary widely from state to state and new bills are introduced frequently. The National Conference of State Legislatures offered this update on Jan. 24, 2017.

All 50 states allow citizens to carry concealed weapons if they meet certain state requirements. Currently, there are 17 states that ban carrying a concealed weapon on a college campus: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina and Wyoming.

In 24 states the decision to ban or allow concealed carry weapons on campuses is made by each college or university individually: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

Because of recent state legislation and court rulings, eight states now have provisions allowing the carrying of concealed weapons on public postsecondary campuses. These states are Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin. Not included in above list, Tennessee allow faculty members with licenses to carry weapons on campus but the law does not extend to students or the general public.

Utah remains the only state to have statute specifically naming public colleges and universities as public entities that do not have the authority to ban concealed carry, and thus, all 10 public institutions in Utah allow concealed weapons on their property. Recently passed Kansas legislation creates a provision that colleges and universities cannot prohibit concealed carry unless a building has "adequate security measures."

 

What is happening on campuses in other states like Colorado or Texas?

An online search will provide websites with information about gun laws from a variety of perspectives.  One site that looks specifically at college campuses is provided by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Colorado also have pages that address the laws specific to their states.


Quick Resources

weaponspolicy.ku.edu

KU Public Safety Office, 785-864-5900

Request a Public Safety Office program for your office or KU organization.

Campus Alerts

                Lawrence Campus

                Edwards Campus

Emergency Planning

Lawrence Campus Emergency Planning

Edwards Campus Emergency Plan (pdf)

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