House bill would prevent Kentucky colleges, universities from banning guns

A Kentucky House bill would prevent public colleges and universities to ban guns on their campus.
Published: Mar. 7, 2023 at 10:26 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A Kentucky House bill would prevent public colleges and universities to ban guns on their campus.

It’s currently forbidden, but under a new proposal, anyone over the age of 21 would be allowed to carry a gun on a college and university campus in Kentucky.

“Banning firearms on campus is clearly not a deterrent for those who would willingly harm others. Yet it ensures innocent victims are defenseless in the face of the unthinkable,” said a sponsor of the bill, Rep. Savannah Maddox.

Maddox presented this version of House Bill 542 to the House Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Tuesday morning-where it passed along party lines. As Maddox explains, the bill would not allow public colleges and universities to ban guns on their campuses.

Maddox cited the Michigan State University shooting as one reason to lift the ban on guns. Three weeks ago, three students were killed and five others injured when a gunman opened fire on the campus.

“Telling every person on campus who was right smack dap in the worst day of their life to ‘run, hide or fight.’ Can you imagine if one of your children or someone you loved was on that campus and they got a text message telling them to run, hide or fight? But it’s impossible to fight when your own institution of higher learning has rendered you useless,” Maddox said.

But some students on UK’s campus say they think the proposed legislation is worrisome and almost scary.

“Guns should not be on a college campus,” said UK student Maggie Morise. “After the Michigan State shooting, I just felt uncomfortable even walking to class.”

Following the public opposition from the Council on Postsecondary Education, a UK spokesperson said in a statement, “our law enforcement, safety and health officials are unequivocal in their belief that allowing guns on campus will make our community less safe.”

“I mean, people get drunk on campus all of the time. People across from me in the dorms get drunk. So if you have a gun mixed in with that, people just make silly decisions. But silly decisions mixed in with something that could take someone’s life is a terrible decision,” said UK student Wesley Smith.

The attorney for the Council on Postsecondary Education says college presidents and campus police chiefs oppose the bill and have made the choice to be gun-free zones.

The bill was sent to the House floor for a vote.