The campus students will return to this fall will be one where students who can't even buy their own nicotine, can now carry and conceal deadly weapons at school.

Earlier this week, the Kansas Legislature voted against Governor Laura Kelly’s veto of lowering the conceal and carry age to 18. That same Legislature failed to overturn Kelly’s veto on banning trans women from competing in women’s sports by only a single vote.

Lowering the conceal and carry age does nothing to encourage informed or responsible gun ownership.

As of 2017, students 21 and up at Emporia State have been able to conceal and carry as long as the handgun remains “within the immediate control of the individual at all times,” according to ESU’s Weapons Policy.

Gun ownership is a right guaranteed by our 2nd Amendment, but there has to be some restrictions to preserve the safety of others.

If the campus's goal is to foster security then there are a multitude of ways that they can do that far better than placing our safety in the hands of eighteen year olds. 

Without needing a license to conceal and carry in Kansas, there is no standard of training that students endure unlike campus and local police. In an active-shooter situation, more guns in the hands of students doesn’t make an officers job any easier.

Students should feel safe enough to attend a school where their classmates don’t have to tuck Smith and Wessons into their Wranglers to make it back to their dorms safely. 

By presence alone, every confrontation with someone carrying a concealed firearm is a life and death situation by nature that there is a firearm involved—theirs.

Registering individuals on campus with firearms is also prohibited under campus guidelines, specifically the Weapons Policy states, “The law prohibits asking or attempting to determine by any method who is or who plans on carrying or storing a handgun.”

Responsible gun ownership requires discipline and restraint, something that an 18 year old may only be beginning to grasp and something that three more years of experience can certainly help solidify.

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