Bill on concealed weapons should not pass

“Let’s see, I have my chemistry book, speech book, notebooks, paper, pens, what am I missing? Oh, yeah, my concealed weapon.” This may come to be a normal routine when getting packed for school in the morning for those with concealed weapons. House Bill 2685, a bill our state legislature is considering voting into effect would allow a person with a proper license to carry a concealed weapon into any municipality or state facility. This includes community colleges and universities. Not only would students be allowed to bring their “gat” to school, but teachers and visitors alike. Sounds great two years after Virginia Tech. If you’re as skeptical as we are, there is a way to prevent people from walking into our school with a piece. Security and metal detectors. The bill states that no state agency or municipality shall prohibit the carrying of a concealed weapon unless the work place has adequate security measures to ensure no weapons are permitted at such a work place. The bill goes on to define “Adequate Security Measures” as the use of electronic equipment and personnel to detect and restrict the carrying of any weapons into the facility or on such premises, including, but not limited to, metal detectors, metal detector wands or any other equipment used for similar purposes. In plain English, metal detectors and security must be present to deny the carrying of weapons into our school. OK, sounds great. The problem lies here. We have over 100 entrances and 11 buildings on our campus. The most modestly priced metal detector is around $2,500. To ensure no one makes it in with a weapon, we would put metal detectors at 100 entrances. That puts our bill at $250,000.

Wait, there’s more. Now we have to station security. More than likely we would need security at every entrance, but to cut cost we’ll put one security guard in every building. The average yearly pay is around $50,000 according to drafters of the bill, which would add $550,000 to our ticket. In one year, it would cost Seward at bare minimum $800,000 dollars to deter concealed weapons. The state has already cut our funding. That kills another million. That means the school would have to cut costs. They would have to do that by eliminating programs. We already have program cuts coming due to lack of funding. With the passage of this bill, a few more would go along with them to keep the school solvent. Fellow classmates, that means less scholarship opportunities and less ways to get involved.

The bill passed in one house of the state legislature 65-57. Now the bill is on the way to the state senate; if passed there, it goes on to the governor. If the senate doesn’t pass it, the bill is null, or if they do pass it and the governor vetoes it, it is also null. But if the bill passes in the senate and gets the governor’s signature, I don’t know about you, but a bullet proof vest sounds kinda trendy. In order to prevent this, we can gather to voice our opinions, and maybe take a bus to Topeka and picket the lawn at our state capitol. As constituents we at least must contact our senators and representatives and tell them that this bill not only allows guns onto our campus, but as a school it would a devastating cost. As students, how do we get involved and find scholarship opportunities with no clubs and programs? We don’t want guns on campus and we want to keep our clubs and programs. You can contact our district representatives Carl D. Holmes and Bill Light. Holmes at 785-296-7670, by e-mail [email protected] Light at 785-296-7636 and by e-mail [email protected] Our district senators Tim Huelskamp and Stephen Morris can also be reached. Huelskamp at 785-296-7359 and Morris at 785-296-2419. Now, before it’s too late, we must get involved and do our part to ensure our school’s safety.