WICHITA – Following the accidental gun discharge at the Augusta High graduation Sunday, where two people were injured, KSN is asking if schools can keep concealed carry guns out of graduations.
“The Kansas Statute has allowed schools to set their parameters in regards to school safety,” says Terri Moses, Executive Director of Security Services at USD 259, Wichita Schools. “And we have the no gun signs on all of our properties. And we continue to enforce that rule.”
Legal minds agree. Federal law says no guns within 1,000 feet of a school zone. Kansas law has allowed concealed carry holders to carry a gun on school grounds.
“Are there exceptions to the federal law? Yes,” says legal analyst and Wichita attorney, Dan Monnat. “If a person has a valid carry and concealed license, then the question is, does it conflict with Kansas law?”
Monnat says the bottom line is, no guns by Kansas statute, if schools post signs that say no guns.
“Posted signage makes such possession illegal,” says Monnat. “However, there are no criminal penalties for that statute. The only (legal) remedy is denial of access to or removal from the school premises.”
The Augusta police chief says he is going after charges in the Augusta case.
“It’s illegal for anyone to have a weapon on school property, we’re looking into that right now,” said Chief Tyler Brewer, Augusta Director of Public Safety.
Augusta Superintendent John Black says the shooting has been what he calls a learning experience.
“This brings up an interesting series of questions,” says Black. “Security is something we take seriously. We will continue to review our safety procedures.”
Augusta has a sign outside its stadium, where the accidental shooting happened. Kansas Statute 75-7c (et. al) goes extensively into concealed carry. It also says federal law is usurped by Kansas law that, in turn, says concealed carry permit holders can carry on schools, unless signs are posted.
USD 259 officials say they will continue to use metal detectors to keep guns out of graduation ceremonies and other large events.
“I think they’re reasonable for the safety and security and peace of mind that they give to people when they are entering an event,” said Moses.
Augusta Chief Brewer says his office will present a case to the county attorney for charges, later this week.
KSNW TV – By Craig Andres