The University of Kansas' Students Demand Action group is working toward reforming the University’s concealed carry policy and fighting at the local and state level for increased gun control legislation.
KU SDA had its first meeting Saturday, Nov. 9, in Anschutz Library to discuss the purpose of the group and what their role will be on campus. SDA is a non-partisan national organization fighting for sensible gun legislation, according to the SDA website.
“Right now on campus it’s about fighting against concealed carry, fighting for background checks, red flag laws, gun buyback laws and also disarming domestic abusers,” SDA President Josh Potratz said during the meeting.
The group discussed different tabling efforts it will do throughout the rest of the semester, as well as efforts to reach students, administrators and state legislators.
The group also discussed how it wants to improve safety on campus regarding the University’s concealed carry policy.
“I want to make a positive change both on campus and in the state,” sophomore Derek Dunn said.
In 2017, the Kansas Personal and Family Protection Act changed a law to allow citizens 21 years or older to carry concealed handguns in public buildings.
Concealed carry is allowed everywhere on the University's campus except in buildings where adequate security measures are in place, according to the University’s concealed carry website. These locations are Kansas Athletics facilities where attendance is more than 5,000.
Professors and faculty at the University responded in multiple ways as a result of the new campus carry policy. Associate professor of history and American studies Jacob Dorman left the University after 10 years at the University, and film and media studies professor Kevin Willmott wore a bulletproof vest to class to protest the law.
In response to the law, Student Senate hosted a concealed carry panel in August 2017 to allow marginalized students to voice their concerns over the University’s concealed carry policy.
“[Concealed carry] is not conducive to an educational environment, which is what a university should be,” Potratz said. “It’s conducive to a scary, harmful environment, and I don’t think that’s what we should be harboring at the University of Kansas.”
KU SDA will be tabling at the Student Senate concealed carry forum on Nov. 12, and the group's next meeting will be held Monday, Nov. 18.