Guns banned at KU’s Allen Fieldhouse, Memorial Stadium, other Kansas college arenas

Concealed guns will be allowed at Kansas colleges come July, but not inside big sporting events at three public universities. | File photo by The Star |
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By Mará Rose Williams mdwilliams@kcstar.com and Jesse Newell jnewell@kcstar.com

While it will be legal to carry concealed weapons on Kansas college campuses come July, athletic stadiums and arenas in Lawrence, Manhattan and Wichita will remain off limits.

The Kansas Board of Regents on Wednesday approved plans from three of the six universities it governs to prohibit the concealed carry of guns in stadiums and arenas during athletic events with 5,000 people or more.

University of Kansas Jayhawks fans heading to Allen Fieldhouse or Memorial Stadium for a game will have to leave their handguns behind and be prepared to shuffle through metal detectors.

The same goes for Kansas State Wildcats fans at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium and Bramlage Coliseum.

The Kansas athletic department is also adopting is a clear-bag policy for all ticketed sporting events this fall.

In a 4-1 vote Wednesday, the regents approved campus requests to use “temporary adequate security measures,” or mobile metal detectors, to prohibit people from carrying guns into certain campus facilities. Regent Shane Bangerter of Dodge City voted against the requests.

“He stated that he did not feel temporary adequate security measures were necessary as presented,” said Breeze Richardson, spokeswoman for the Board of Regents.

The KU athletic department will buy about $1 million worth of metal detectors and equipment, said Jim Marchiony, spokesman for the athletic department.

The university hasn’t determined how many entrances would be used at the facilities during the games. But “now that the Board of Regents has taken its action, now we’ll really start to formulate plans,” Marchiony said.

Previously, security personnel checked bags at each entrance to ensure they were safe. Now, any bag or container bigger than one’s hand will have to be made of see-through material, he said.

“The focus will be keeping everyone safe and making entry as expeditious as possible,” he added. “The clear-bag policy will be a large part of that.”

Meanwhile, KU Medical Center made no request to install metal detectors in buildings on that campus, “other than to say there may be select events where adequate security measures are determined necessary,” Richardson said.

Kay Hawes, spokeswoman for the medical center, said there may be times the center might need to pay for security officers and metal detector wands.

After Wednesday’s public board meeting, medical center officials in an executive session proposed that the Board of Regents allow for other “limited restrictive access locations,” Hawes said. Where those areas would be was not made public Wednesday.

While the medical center — which deals with medical academics and research — and the KU Hospital share a campus, the hospital is not governed by the Board of Regents.

The state’s concealed carry law was expanded to include public buildings in 2013, but public colleges and universities were given a four-year waiver to prepare.

But come July 1, when the waiver expires, the no-guns-allowed signs posted at entrances to college and university buildings across the state will come down.

According to state law, the only way to prevent anyone from having a concealed weapon would be to install security measures and security staff at building entrances.

Rep. Blake Carpenter, a Derby Republican, has strongly supported the law allowing the concealed handguns on college campuses.

“As long as they’re providing adequate security for individuals, then it’s up to them to be able to allow or not allow firearms into their facility,” Carpenter said. “With the metal detectors and the guards, then we know for sure that people aren’t going in there who aren’t supposed to be carrying.”

University officials have said installing metal detectors and security personnel at every building entrance would be too expensive. They opted for relying on the security equipment and personnel for major sporting events and now and again at other highly attended campus activities.

Kansas State University requested approval for metal detectors at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium and Bramlage Coliseum for all its ticketed athletic events. The athletic department said it will buy about 70 mobile metal detectors but had not yet determined the cost.

Other campus entities will be allowed to rent the equipment from the athletic department. K-State also got the regents’ approval to consider using security measures during select events at McCain Auditorium, Forum Hall in the K-State Student Union, and the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art.

Wichita State University will install temporary metal detectors to prohibit guns inside Cessna Stadium, Eck Stadium and Charles Koch Arena for athletic events where attendance is anticipated to be 5,000 or more.

Eighteen to 20 mobile metal detectors are to be bought by the Wichita State athletic department at a cost of about $3,600 per unit. Each entrance would also be staffed with security officers. The mobile units could be rented out for other events.

Each of the universities and the medical center also got regents’ approval to use temporary security measures for select events such as commencement ceremonies.

There were no requests made by Emporia State University, Pittsburg State University or Fort Hays State University.

The Star’s Hunter Woodall contributed to this report.

Mará Rose Williams: 816-234-4419, @marawilliamskc

Jesse Newell: 816-234-4759, @jessenewell


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