Kaitlin Bennett, a recent graduate of Kent State University, posted a photo of herself walking on campus with an AR-10 rifle in support of open carry on college campuses. “#CampusCarryNow” she wrote in her post.
In December 2016, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a bill that legalized campus carry but let each university decide how to allow guns on their own campuses. Kent State is one of the few universities to not allow guns.
Despite open carry being legal in the state of Ohio, Kent State has a policy that bans their students from open carry on campus. “Kent State is one of the few schools in Ohio that decided that students wouldn’t be permitted to open carry on campus while guests can,” said Bennett.
After her graduation, since she was no longer a student, Bennett took her AR-10 and a graduation cap that said “Come and Take It” and walked through the Kent State campus.
“The goal really is to spur dialogue,” she said. “If students have questions about firearms, we can answer them and have a conversation about gun control and how important the Second Amendment is.
“Now that I graduated from Kent State, I can finally arm myself on campus,” wrote Bennett in her post. “I should have been able to do so as a student.” Colleges and universities are not immune to mass shootings. One of the deadliest shootings in recent history took place on the campus of Virginia Tech in 2007, where 32 people were killed.
“I have no apologies for my graduation photos,” she continued in a separate post. “As a woman, I refuse to be a victim and the second amendment ensures that I don’t have to be.”
As gun-control advocates praise gun-free zones, opponents point out that 97.3 percent of mass shootings since 1950 have taken place inside of gun-free zones, bringing the effectiveness of those zones into question, according to data from the Crime Prevention Research Center.
There’s a lot of talk about gun control in general on campus and I don’t think there is the other side being presented at all,” said Bennett, who has a concealed carry permit. “There’s a one-sided campaign against gun rights and it’s important that this campus gets introduced to the other side of that.”