Former Kent State University student Kaitlin Bennett attempted to organize a gun-rights rally late last week for activists to protest KSU’s no firearm policy on campus for students, faculty and staff. After KSU said it would charge her group several thousand dollars for security costs, Bennett decided to announce plans for a walk instead. Bennett expected about 200 people to walk with her around KSU’s campus in support of second amendment rights including campus carry.
“Our rights don’t end because we step on their property,” Bennett told the cheering crowd.
On May 4, 1970, members of the Ohio National Guard fired into a crowd of students at KSU protesting the U.S. bombing of Cambodia. Four died and nine were wounded in the incident. Bennett mentioned this incident in a tweet that also showed a photo of her carrying a firearm on campus as a recent graduate of KSU. According to KSU policy, as a graduate, Bennett is now a ‘visitor’, which means she is technically not a student and can therefore possess, store or use weapons while outside on university grounds.
Bennett suggests that KSU students, faculty and staff members should be allowed to carry on campus, just like visitors.
Hundreds of counter-protesters also showed up in opposition of Bennett, which escalated tensions on campus.
“There’s no reason for this rally, we want to feel safe here, we just want to get an education” said one counter-protester.
Hundreds of law enforcement officers from several universities and municipalities were present in an effort to get between the two crowds and keep peace. By the end of the day, police reported no serious injuries despite the tension. There were four arrested, none of which were Kent State University students.
KSU President Beverly Warren said that the university did not sponsor or endorse the events or groups on campus that day.
Warren also summarized the conclusion of the events:
“While there were some heated challenges and exchanges today, I am pleased to say that today’s events concluded with minimal violence and injury, and no damage to university property”.
Bennett said on Monday that she sent a letter in May to Warren asking the university to change its policy to allow students, faculty and staff who are concealed weapon license holders to carry firearms on campus.
“I will be back” Bennett said to reporters.
As of now, Kent State is sticking to its no firearms policy, but only if you are a student, faculty or staff member of KSU.
You can find more details about the KSU gun-rights rally here.
Learn more about campus safety here.