A handgun left in a Wichita State University building Friday has ignited local social media just two weeks after it became legal to carry concealed weapons onto college campuses in Kansas.
A university employee found the .40-caliber handgun in a second-floor restroom at Jabara Hall.
“Seeing the gun just made me roll my eyes,” Erik Mallory, who found the gun, said in an electronic response to questions. “Thinking about the ramifications of irresponsible gun ownership is unsettling.”
Mallory turned the gun over to university police, who are checking to see who owns it.
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They will then decide “what, if anything, needs to happen,” university spokesman Joe Kleinsasser said.
“This is a reminder of how important it is to be responsible when you’re carrying a gun,” Kleinsasser said. “Obviously it’s a mistake, and not a good one.”
Regents institutions in Kansas were originally exempt from a state law requiring concealed carry in public facilities. But that exemption expired July 1, meaning universities and colleges in Kansas must allow concealed carry on campus or provide adequate security measures such as metal detectors for their facilities.
“Maybe, on the plus side, it shows how everyone needs to be responsible,” Kleinsasser said.
Reaction to the incident was swift on social media. Several commenters used profanity in their posts on Mallory’s Facebook page.
Some called it a simple mistake, but others were less forgiving.
“Someone who lacks this common sense probably shouldn’t carry/be allowed to carry,” one man posted. “This is a clear case of extreme negligence.”
WSU’s weapons policy states that concealed carry will be allowed in all university buildings at WSU, including residence halls and on-campus apartments. The exception is beyond the lobby of the University Police Department.
The university can make locations temporarily gun-free with signs and temporary security measures like armed guards and metal detectors. Examples would be athletics or commencement events where attendance tops 5,000, according to WSU.
The policy states that eligible people can carry a handgun in a briefcase, backpack, purse or handbag as long as that person keeps it under their “uninterrupted control.” A concealed handgun should be in secure storage if it’s not on that person.
Openly carrying a weapon into buildings or facilities is still prohibited on WSU’s campus. Concealed carry applies only to handguns.