By Lauran Rust
After the Oregon community college shooting on Oct. 1, HCC students and staff are considering what guns can really do on campuses.
It was a normal October morning at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.
About 30-40 minutes into a class, students heard gunshots outside of the room.
Chris Harper-Mercer, the gunman, then walked into his own classroom and told everyone to get into the center of the room.
He picked out a student, Matthew Downing, and let him live in exchange for giving an envelope with a flash drive in it to the police.
Harper-Mercer then “fired a couple of shots into the crowd of students in the center,” Downing said.
The gunman then asked a student if he or she was a Christian. After responding yes, the student was shot.
The gunman then proceeded to ask the same question to another student.
This time the student was Catholic. The gunman asked the Catholic student if they believed in an afterlife.
The student responded, “I don’t know.” Harper-Mercer thanked him for standing up for his faith and then shot him.
Many more shots were fired that day, eventually killing many others.
The final bullet was used to complete the suicide of Harper-Mercer himself. This fatal shooting took the lives of nine people, ranging in age from 18 to 67.
Shootings seem to be everywhere. Now, they are even at community colleges.
With “legal carry” coming to Kansas college campuses within two years, for any elegible non-felon, 21 or older, students and staff are concerned.
“You are never sure what someone is capable of,” said Kaitlynn Holman, Salina. “Guns are a scary thing to deal with.”
When asked if it would have been better if people in the Oregon class had guns, several students said it would not.
“You can’t use violence,” Delia Benoit, Hutchinson, said. “Lock the doors.”
When asked if something like this could come to Hutchinson, many students and staff agreed.
Kathy Marquez, secretary of Resident Life, said “Why not?”
You never know what can come to campus, Marquez said.
She said on Oct. 1, there was a residence life staff meeting at HCC and they talked about how shootings were always on larger campuses — and never at community colleges. Later that morning, the shooting in Oregon occurred, making many rethink that stance.
Community colleges, including HCC, have a lot to consider. As legal carry comes to Kansas colleges, the Oregon shooting brings to light issues to address.
In 2013, at least 19 states introduced legislation to allow concealed carry on campus in some regard. In 2013, two bills passed, one in Kansas that allows concelaed carry generally and one in Arkansas that allows faculty to carry.
In 23 states, the decision to ban or allow concealed carry weapons on campuses is made by each college or university individually.
Recent shootings also have encouraged some legislators to strengthen existing firearm regulations.
In 2013, five states introduced legislation to prohibit concealed weapons on campus. None of these bills passed.
Because of recent state legislation and court rulings, eight states now have provisions allowing the carrying of concealed weapons on public postsecondary campuses.
These states are Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.