FAQS


Your questions.

Members of the campus community shared dozens of questions on the broad topics: Compliance with the law or policy, training and education, mental health and intervention, personal safety, spaces and national practices. 

Compliance with law or policy

Kansas law (the Personal Family and Protection Act), which went into effect in 2017, requires public agencies and 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. An additional law passed in 2021 allows individuals age 18-20 to carry concealed handguns if they acquire a provisional concealed carry license. The 2021 law also guarantees reciprocity for concealed carry licenses issued by recognized jurisdictions such as other state governments. 

Board of Regents policy and University policy provide guidance on implementation of the concealed carry laws, 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 who violate policies may also be subject to other university disciplinary actions. 

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.

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. In 2021, the legislature voted to allow individuals ages 18-20 the opportunity to acquire a provisional concealed carry license.  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 safer possession of concealed handguns and responsibilities of the carrier. 

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

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.

No.

No. It is a violation of KU policy to openly carry any type of firearm on campus.

Call 911 if you see anyone other than a law enforcement official openly carrying a firearm or other weapon prohibited by the KU weapons policy. KU Police officers will respond immediately. Violators will be asked to leave campus with their weapon. They may also be cited for criminal trespass if they refuse to leave and may be arrested. Depending on circumstances, KU students and employees may face additional disciplinary actions through applicable codes of conduct.

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.

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.

They are different; green card holders are permanent residents and federal regulation does not prevent green card holders from owning or possessing firearms or ammunition. Non-immigrant visa holders are citizens of other countries who have entered the U.S. lawfully for the purposes of education, tourism, or business for a fixed period of time.

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…”

In general, faculty members are not at liberty to specifically restrict concealed carry of handguns by students or visitors to their classrooms. However, there are some class situations and course activities that make it difficult if not impossible for individuals to carry a concealed handgun. Other course situations may affect the manner in which a person carries a concealed handgun. For example, many faculty have a blanket policy (allowed by Kansas Board of Regents policy) that requires all students to leave backpacks and purses several feet away from themselves during tests and quizzes. In such a situation, a student would be unable to legally conceal their handgun in a backpack within their custody and control and would be expected to either conceal the handgun on their body or leave their handgun in their vehicle or residence before arriving at the classroom. In all cases, it is the responsibility of the person carrying a concealed handgun to understand their course schedule and expectations, and make appropriate arrangements to ensure they are following all policies and laws.

This website contains sample syllabus language for a variety of academic scenarios that will help faculty and instructors set expectations that balance classroom safety with individual rights. These samples have been carefully crafted with the assistance of KU's General Counsel Office. The Syllabus Language page also provides guidance on how to receive help drafting syllabus wording that applies to a course scenario not appearing on this site.

Kansas Board of Regents policy allows that instructors who are solely assigned to an office may lock the door when they are alone in it, however, they are not at liberty to prevent concealed carry by students, colleagues or other visitors. Faculty members are expected follow department policy on office hours.

Unsecure firearms can contribute to accidental shootings as well as offer the opportunity for others to use firearms in an unauthorized or unlawful manner.

The consumer marketplace offers numerous varieties and styles of gunlocks and secure storage available for gun owners to purchase that reduce the potential for theft or a handgun’s misuse.

KU policy requires that when not on the person or under their custody and control, the handgun must be both secured and concealed from view. The characteristics of one’s secure storage choice will be dependent upon the style of handgun, the general location where it will be stored, such as a vehicle or residence; the specific location where it will be stored, such as a desk, cabinet or vehicle console; and other individuals who may have easy access to the storage location.

Holsters must completely cover the trigger and trigger guard area and should secure any external hammer in an un-cocked position through the use of a strap or other means. The holster must have sufficient tension or grip on the handgun to retain it in the holster even when subjected to unexpected jostling.

The State of Kansas still issues concealed carry permits to individuals who complete the required training and meet other basic requirements. Because of the training requirement, permit holders are often eligible for reciprocity and may carry a concealed handgun in other states that recognize reciprocity of the permits, even if the person wouldn’t otherwise be eligible to carry due to age or certain other restrictions. Similarly, in 2021 the legislature voted to honor reciprocity of concealed carry licenses issued by other states and recognized jurisdiction.   

The majority of states restrict the age a person can acquire a permit at 21, although some set the permitting age at 18 or 19. A few states allow age exemptions for 18 to 20-year-olds with military service. In 2021 Kansas legislators voted to allow residents age 18 to 20 the opportunity to acquire a provisional concealed carry license.  

Reciprocity means that some non-Kansas residents ages 18 to 20 with a valid permit from a different state or jurisdiction may legally carry a concealed handgun in Kansas. In 2021, more than a dozen states officially issue regular or provisional licenses/permits that allow concealed carry permits for individuals age 18 or 19. Laws have changed considerably in recent years. A number of websites, such as this page on Wikipedia, track changes in firearms laws of U.S. states and territories.  

Generally, yes. The state of Kansas recognizes all valid concealed carry licenses issued by another state or territory. The majority of states set the minimum age of permit holders at 21, although some choose age 18 and others choose 19. A small number of states issue permits that allow active-duty military in their state age 18 and older to carry, while all other residents must be age 21 or older to acquire a permit or license.

Individuals who violate the Kansas Personal and Family Protection Act will be asked by law enforcement to leave campus with their weapon. Those who refuse to leave will be cited for trespass. Faculty, students and staff who violate the law or KU policy may also be subject to disciplinary actions as outlined in university codes of rights and responsibilities.

No.

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.

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.

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 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.

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

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.

All KU police officers are commissioned law enforcement officials in the state of Kansas and meet the same certification standards and have the same training as law enforcement officials elsewhere in the state. Kansas has had concealed carry laws since 2006 and law enforcement officials are trained with that knowledge. The 2017 law change eliminated the exemption that barred concealed handguns from being brought into most state and municipal buildings. The 2021 law, which goes into effect July 1, allows issuance of provisional licenses to residents age 18 to 20 who complete required training. With this law, provisional license holders may bring a concealed handgun into a public building. 

With regard to training, upon hiring all KU police officers must be eligible for admission to the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center, which provides training and certifies the qualifications of law enforcement officers in the state of Kansas. The 14-week course provides intensive training and covers a wide variety of policing topics including defensive tactics, firearms, communication skills, and crime scene investigation, to name a few. KU police officers must qualify annually with their duty weapon. Full-time officers, beginning their second year after commissioning, must complete 40 hours of law enforcement education or training each year. Recent examples of continuing education completed by KU police officers are hazardous materials, response to mental health crises, high-speed driving, active shooter response and cultural competence. 

The Kansas Attorney General Office offers a directory of certified concealed carry handgun instructors (pdf) in Kansas on its Concealed Carry webpage.

Talk with your supervisor and department chair or program director. Department leaders can contact KU Public Safety prior to your arrival to schedule programs or receive the most current resources. KU Public Safety can provide a variety of workshops and information to help you prepare for many situations. 

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.

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. To request a presentation on a topic please please contact Public Safety at 785-864-5900 or kupso@ku.edu and ask for Community Education. If you are hosting your own program and would like materials, please contact us for pamphlets and other educational information.

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.

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

KU’s Counseling and Psychological Services has added additional counseling staff positions in recent years to help with increased demand for services. The university also partners with ULifeline to provide round the clock counseling for those in mental health crisis. To engage ULifeline, text START to 741-741 or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

In addition, 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, to make an appointment.

Individuals may also contact Headquarters in Lawrence, which provides a 24-hour telephone counseling service for individuals experiencing crisis and seeking counseling, support and/or referral for additional services. Call 785-841-2345

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

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 2019 nearly two-thirds (60.3%) of deaths from firearms were suicide.

Nationally, deaths by firearms rank second on the list of causes of injury-related deaths after poisonings at 31%.

  • Poisoning Deaths: 75,797 – 31%
  • Firearm deaths: 39,707 – 16.1%
    • Suicide: 23,941 – 60.3%
    • Homicide: 14,414 – 36.3%
    • Unintentional/accidental: 486 – 1.2%
  • Motor vehicle traffic deaths: 37,595 – 15.3%

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 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.

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.

Yes. KU Police will come and investigate. If you feel threatened by the remarks, the situation could fall into a variety of law or policy violations. The outcome will be dependent upon the circumstances and the information gathered by KU Police.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

Spaces

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.

No, while the lockers at Ambler are lockable, they were not designed by the manufacturer for the secure 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.

The state of Kansas recognizes all valid concealed carry licenses issued by another state or the District of Columbia. Your student’s roommate, in this circumstance, would be allowed to have a handgun in accordance with the policy. The same is true of an 18-year-old in-state student who has a provisional license. If your student is uncomfortable with her roommate having a handgun, your student may request a room change by logging into the myKU portal to find available space and reassign herself. Or, after having moved into the originally selected building, she can contact the administrative assistant for the building she wants to move to (or the scholarship hall director, if in a scholarship hall). As always, she can also contact the Student Housing office at housing@ku.edu or 785-864-4560 for assistance.

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.

The answer depends on the facility and the expected attendance of the event. Sports facilities used by KU teams at Rock Chalk Park are privately owned and as such the owners may legally restrict concealed handguns and weapons from the premises. Use of adequate security measures to prohibit concealed carry at other KU sports venues will be based on projected attendance of 5,000 and higher.

After the public building exemption expired in 2017, additional KU Public Safety patrol officers were hired and KU Public Safety Office acquired a limited number of portable screening devices that meet the requirements outlined in the law. Procedures are in place to request appropriate adequate security measures and personnel for campus events in specific venues. 

No, unless the person is a law enforcement official.

Yes. As new buildings are erected, new programs move to established buildings, and program activities change, there will be ongoing opportunities to review how the law is implemented in campus spaces.

Your safety is important. KU Police officers are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

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 the 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.

All residential communities at KU are served by 24/7 on-call residence life staff and the residence halls have 24-hour service desks. Regular security walk-throughs are conducted in all residential facilities. 

Additionally, strategic restructuring in fall 2016 allowed KU Public Safety Office to add more patrol officers before July 1, 2017, when the public building exemption expired. The result was increased presence of officers across campus. The Public Safety Office’s average response time to emergency calls is less than 3 minutes. There have been no incidents involving concealed weapons on campus since the concealed carry law on college campus went into effect. 

At the University of Kansas, fraternity and sorority houses are not state or municipal buildings and are located off campus. They are not subject to this state law. Contact the specific fraternity or sorority to learn more about their particular rules and policies.

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

A new Montana law allows guns to be carried in all public places, including college campuses, beginning June 1, 2021. However, universities can continue to prohibit guns at large athletic and entertainment events that have armed security on site. 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.

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 Nov. 1, 2019.

"All 50 states allow citizens to carry concealed weapons if they meet certain state requirements. Currently, there are 16 states that ban carrying a concealed weapon on a college campus: California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina and Wyoming.

In 23 states the decision to ban or allow concealed carry weapons on campuses is made by each college or university individually: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, 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, 10 states now have provisions allowing the carrying of concealed weapons on public postsecondary campuses. These states are Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin. Not included in above list, Tennessee allows 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, which you can view in the link menu below, creates a provision that colleges and universities cannot prohibit concealed carry unless a building has "adequate security measures."