LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) The three largest universities in Kansas will be allowed to ban guns at large sporting events beginning in July.
The Kansas Board of Regents’ governance committee on Wednesday approved a request by the University of Kansas, Kansas State University and Wichita State University to install security measures such as metal detectors and guards – either temporary or permanently – at games.
Kansas universities are required to allow concealed handguns on campuses beginning July 1 unless they provide both metal detectors and armed guards. Kansas Board of Regents Chairwoman Zoe Newton has said providing security across campuses would be cost prohibitive.
The Kansas State Athletics Department will spend about $1 million on security for the upcoming football and basketball seasons, said Casey Scott, senior associate athletics director for operations and event management. He said the department will buy about 70 metal detectors for $450,000 and pay to staff them for games.
Wichita State will buy about 20 metal detectors for $72,000, said David Moses, general counsel for the university. He said he wasn’t sure how much it would cost to staff them.
University of Kansas spokeswoman Erinn Barcomb-Peterson didn’t say Wednesday how much the security would cost. The Lawrence Journal-World reported in January that it would cost more than $1 million.
Barcomb-Peterson and Moses said the universities decided to secure games because they draw such large crowds. Moses said the university would also secure graduation ceremonies. Barcomb-Peterson said in an email that games represent an environment ”where emotions run high and there is a potential for conflict.”
Opponents of campus carry have tried unsuccessfully to repeal the law, which is set to go into effect for campuses and several types of medical facilities in July. Gun rights groups maintain that students should be allowed to carry guns unless universities can ensure buildings are gun-free using the security measures.
Supporters of campus carry tried to strengthen the law in March by stripping campuses’ ability to make any regulations regarding how and where people carry guns. That bill hasn’t gotten a committee vote.
Emporia State, Pittsburg State and Fort Hays State did not seek approval to ban guns at any events.
Associated Press writer Margaret Stafford in Kansas City, Missouri, also contributed to this report.