Kansas student activist group warns U.S. embassies about campus carry law

Students and staff from across Kansas gather to silently protest campus carry. Our silence is symbolic of the silencing of our individual voices at the hands of the gun lobby and Kansas lawmakers. (Photo credit: Mercedes Lucero/Kansas Coalition for a Gun Free Campus/Facebook)

Students and staff from across Kansas gather to silently protest campus carry (Photo credit: Mercedes Lucero/Kansas Coalition for a Gun Free Campus/Facebook)

A Kansas University graduate student and gun control activist emailed an open letter Tuesday to U.S. embassies abroad warning of the state’s campus carry law.

Megan Jones, founder of the “Fail Campus Carry” Facebook page said Kansas public colleges and universities “are not doing enough to inform prospective students about this law,” which she argues disproportionately affects non-U.S. citizens incapable of arming themselves per federal law.

“Meaning many international students at Kansas universities would be surrounded by firearms without the legal right to also carry one — making it potentially even more dangerous for these students,” she wrote. “Considering the shooting of two Indian men who were presumed to be ‘Middle Eastern’ by a white supremacist in Olathe, Kansas last week, international students, especially those from certain countries or regions, are at a greater risk of being the victims of deadly violence once this campus carry law goes into effect.”

Jones said she’d sent the letter to the consulates and embassies of more than 160 countries.

“They have an ethical responsibility to let people know so they can make informed decisions about where they work and study, and they have not done so,” Jones told KWCH News. “If I had known about this law before it went into effect I would not have come to the University of Kansas,” she said.

The law referenced will no longer exempt universities from constitutional carry laws as of July 1 — meaning the gun-free zones must implement new rules for weapons on campus that don’t undermine existing statute.

“There’s no notification on the admissions page, there’s no notification by the universities,” Jones said during an interview Wednesday with the local CBS affiliate. “I’ve been thinking about how to make sure students know about the campus carry law. I’ve been trying to get the campus administration at KU to inform students. But time is running out and people are making their admissions decisions.”

Five states permit concealed carry on college campuses: Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Tennessee and Texas. Universities in Kansas, Oregon, Mississippi, Arkansas and Wisconsin also allow concealed weapons, but restrict where and who can exercise the right.

Rep. Stephanie Clayton, R-Overland Park, introduced House Bill 2074 in January that would continue the exemption allowing public college and universities to ban guns. Jones expressed support for this bill in her email.