Today we continue with the Johnson County Community College Board of Trustees candidates’ responses to our general election questionnaire. Here’s item number three:
Under a law passed by the Kansas legislature that went into effect this year, students on public college campuses are now permitted to carry concealed weapons. Do you support students’ ability to carry concealed weapons on JCCC’s campus? Why or why not?
I don’t support guns allowed on campus. I witnessed the bills go through the House and Senate committee meetings, attended committee hearings, advocated against allowing guns on campus. Having colleges pay 24 million to build a secure fencing and 14 million per year to hire a police office to make the campus official gun-free is extortion. JCCC has many students who are under the age of 18. These local high school students who attend extra or alternative class work at JCCC should not be subject to these concerns. The question about support for a student’s right to carry a concealed weapon is not the same as a question about our willingness to support the youth who cannot legally carry a weapon under any circumstances (due to age) and those who elect not to carry a weapon.
As students in advanced journalism at JCCC, my classmates and I did informal polls of the other students, staff, and faculty. Some found 80% were opposed to concealed carry. Others found 70%. The conclusion was that the majority of students, staff, and faculty do not want concealed carry on campus.
One of my brothers is a radiologist. He told me our deaths due to gunshot wounds was falling because emergency rooms treatment improved. The rate of shootings was not decreasing. The cost of treatment was increasing.
My guess is the reason our legislature imposed concealed carry on colleges and universities is that they know that their program of voter suppression among the youth is working. The youth vote dropped 18% since the legislature passed the “SAFE Act.” (The legislature claims the reason for the SAFE Act was something else, but the effect was to decrease the youth vote. The legislature has done nothing to overcome that effect.)
We could all wear body armor like the professor at KU does https://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article170434942.html, but I believe that we should consult the students, professors, staff, security, and administration and do what they wish. I am skilled, trained, and experienced in opinion collection techniques for decision-making.
I support government of the people, by the people, for the people. I don’t impose solutions. I believe representation is to include people, not to exclude them.
Henry Sandate (incumbent)
As stated The right to conceal and carry is law. As citizens of the State of Kansas we have no choice in the matter but to obey the law which is validated by the Second Amendment. I support the US constitution and the Amendments regardless of what my opinion is. As a Trustee I agreed and signed that I would support all laws that protected the college and keep us in good standing with contractual agreements, compliance, the Laws that protect us and guide us. This summer I and the rest of the Trustees had no choice in the matter and had to approve guidelines specific to conceal and carry which we passed and I voted yes. For the Trustees to have collectively voted no on conceal and carry would have created legal issues that would have jeopardize the existence of JCCC or the ability to serve the students and the community.
With the recent changes to Kansas’ concealed carry regulations, I’m not convinced having guns on campus makes anyone safer. We need to make sure students and teachers have a sense of security on campus. Our state’s higher learning institutions have made clear their opposition to guns on campus and that is shared by professors and instructors in my family. The bigger issue in this debate is the need for local control.
The College has its own police force of 23 sworn officers. I trust them to keep our students, staff, and patrons safe while on our campus.
Jerry Cook (incumbent)
No. While I support the second amendment, I do not believe that more people carrying more guns on any college campus makes it a safer place for all.
Lee Cross (incumbent)
No, I do not support this. Moreover, I am proud our Board voted unanimously multiple times against having guns at JCCC over the past 4.5 years. I support the Second Amendment, and maybe even an individual’s right to bear arms within some reasonable regulations (say those regulating automobiles for instance or banning bump stocks). Yet, citizens should not be allowed to carry firearms (or have any weapon) in a public facility, school, or hospital. For what exact purpose(s) would a person do so? This is further frustrating when we spend millions of dollars to have our own police department at JCCC.
Note: We did not receive a response from candidate Benjamin Hodge.
Tomorrow we’ll publish the candidates’ responses to our final item: What would you like to be able to say about JCCC four years from now that you can’t say today?