Seward County Community College trustees approved a final reading of the college’s updated weapons policy Monday evening, in anticipation of the state law change that takes effect this week.
On July 1, 2017 Kansas law will allow legal citizens at least 21 years old the right to carry a concealed weapon onto a college campus. The new law is distinct from Kansas’ open-carry statute. Open carry of a firearm on the SCCC campus is prohibited, as noted by public signs postings throughout all campus locations. The college will comply with state law in permitting open carry, with qualifications.
SCCC President Dr. Ken Trzaska said the policy update reflects the college’s commitment to operate in compliance with state law, while focusing on the everyday realities of campus life.
“Our focus — which is one of our five directions, or strategic goals — is to foster a safe and healthy learning environment for our students,” said Trzaska.
Director of Safety and Security Dennis Mulanax, a veteran police officer and concealed-carry instructor, worked closely with the college board and legal counsel to create a policy that complies with Kansas law and focuses on safety for students, college employees, and the public.
“There has been much debate over the last five years regarding firearms carry, especially on a college campus, elementary school, and hospital,” Mulanax said. “Fundamentally, I would prefer there are no weapons on campus, but regardless of our opinions, we are now mandated to allow this right under the protection of Kansas Law.”
Mulanax pointed out that in all locations on campus, the purchase, storage, carry, transport, use, and sale of a firearm is considered strict liability. This means that everything associated with the firearm has liability assigned to the person(s) having such responsibility. For instance, a firearm owner must have the weapon on his/her person or within reach at all times. Concealed carry means out of sight and therefore out of the mindset of another person.
“The carrier should therefore consider that a bulge under the shirt, or the firearm being seen whenever contorting the body reveals such possession of the firearm,” Mulanax said. “As I teach in my classes, in regard to use of force fundamentals, it is not intelligent to advertise what your capabilities are because the use of force carries with it an assumption of risk and liability.”
For the security of those students who reside in the Campus Living Center where those who are older than 21 are eligible to legally own firearms, the college has gone “above and beyond” and will install 10 gun safes before the halls open for the fall semester.
SCCC continues to strive and promote peace and compliance to the law. Employee training sessions and concealed carry classes offered through the Business & Industry Division teach nationally recognized defense options that have already proven effective in other work places, schools, hospitals, and colleges, etc. Run, Hide and Fight and/or A.L.I.C.E. defense strategies and concepts have already proven to be highly effective.
“SCCC will be scheduling additional concealed carry class dates in the near future,” Mulanax said. “It’s your liability if you choose to carry a firearm. Why not protect your liability and learn how to understand the subjectivity of state law, case law, U.S. Supreme Court interpretation and basic use of force principals and techniques taught by the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center, National Rifle Association, International Chiefs of Police and Kansas Attorney General’s Office?”
The SCCC Board of Trustees approved the second official reading of the weapons policy, which can be viewed by the public at the SCCC library, or via the college website, under the “About” tab by following Board of Trustees > Meeting Dates > Board Docs > Agenda for June 23.