People with conceal-carry permits could take guns onto any school property or public university campus under proposed legislation at the Kentucky General Assembly.
House Bill 249 was filed by Rep. Tim Moore, R-Elizabethtown, to bar schools and universities from prohibiting concealed guns on their properties. The bill also would end prohibitions on concealed guns at highway rest areas, public housing and any government office except courtrooms and jails. Private schools and universities could make their own rules.
It’s not yet clear how that bill would intersect with Senate Bill 7, which would allow people as young as 18 to carry concealed guns without any permits or training. That bill faces opposition from some law enforcement and might be changed, legislators have said.
Proponents of House Bill 249 say it would stop school shootings. David Burnett, the former president of University of Kentucky Students for Concealed Carry, said in a recent editorial in the Herald-Leader that current rules “empower psychopaths by guaranteeing victims are defenseless, cultivating a deadly delusion that murderous criminals will comply … Indeed, armed self-defense is the only outcome effectively prevented by college policy.”
Eight states — Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin — allow concealed guns on college campuses.
Kentucky Department of Education spokeswoman Nancy Rodriguez said officials were reviewing the legislation. The Council on Postsecondary Education had no comment.
Jon Akers, director of the Kentucky Center for School Safety, said the bill “scares me.”
“The only people who should be carrying guns at a school are law enforcement officers,” he said.
First of all, he said, school shootings are rare. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, between 1992 and 2013, youth homicides at school made up less than 3 percent of total youth homicides. In 2012-13, the total number of violent student deaths at school was 31. There are about 50 million K-12 students in public schools.
Instead, Akers advocates for communities to place law enforcement officers in every school.
“They can become important resources for students,” he said. “Then, if there is a problem, they are there.”
Guns have been allowed in cars on Kentucky’s college campuses after a 2012 Kentucky Supreme Court decision decreeing that the University of Kentucky had wrongfully fired an employee for having a gun in his car. However, the decision states that schools can continue to regulate guns elsewhere on campus.