Kent State grad takes aim at anti-gun policies
- Upon graduating from Kent State University, Kaitlin Bennett posed in her cap and gown with an AR-10 to protest the fact that students are not allowed to carry firearms on campus.
- Bennett, who founded a chapter of Liberty Hangout at Kent State, said she plans to return to campus to continue her activism, "Only this time, I won’t have to worry about being expelled for expressing my views."
A recent Kent State University graduate is blasting her school’s anti-gun policies in a flurry of tweets that have quickly gone viral.
“Now that I graduated from @KentState, I can finally arm myself on campus,” Kaitlin Bennett tweeted on May 13. “I should have been able to do this as a student, especially since 4 unarmed students were shot and killed by the government on this campus.”
Calling for #CampusCarryNow, the 22-year-old tweeted a photo of her strutting through the Kent State campus with an AR-10 slung across her back.
“I have no apologies for my graduation photos,” Bennett wrote in a follow-up tweet. “As a woman, I refuse to be a victim & the second amendment ensures that I don't have to be.”
Bennett, who just graduated with a BA in biology, told Campus Reform in an interview that her tweets were inspired by her longstanding concern with how Kent State’s policies reduce the ability of students to protect themselves on campus.
“Kent State University is a school in which the government shot four unarmed students 48 years ago,” Bennett said, citing the 1970 incident during which the National Guard open fired on a crowd of Vietnam War protesters.
“I believe not only that those four students would still be alive today had they had the right to carry on campus, but that students today would be much safer,” Bennett explained.
In a statement to Campus Reform, however, school spokesman Eric Mansfield suggested that students have absolutely no reason to be in possession of a firearm, citing that the campus is consistently ranked as one of the safest in Ohio.
“The university has a full-time, certified police force of more than 30 sworn officers who protect the campus,” Mansfield added. “These officers are visible, well-trained and on duty 24/7 in support of students, staff, and faculty.”
But campus police can’t always intervene fast enough, Bennett said, arguing that “pulling out a gun is easier than dialing 911.”
School policy currently prohibits all students from both concealed and open-carry. Only non-student guests are permitted to be in possession of a firearm. And though this policy may be well-intentioned, Bennett says that it suggests that students are less deserving of protection.
“Universities that prohibit students from defending themselves but allow guests to do so are in a sense saying that they don’t value the safety of their students,” she argued. “Why are guests more important than the students who are paying thousands of dollars to attend the university?”
After graduation, Bennett says she plans to stay in the area. During her time at Kent State, she founded a chapter of Liberty Hangout, a small libertarian media outlet dedicated to promoting peace, prosperity, and property rights.
“If students thought my political activism at Kent will be over now that I have graduated, they are wrong,” she said. “I will still be in the area and intend on returning to campus to assist with Liberty Hangout at Kent State, and record videos for LibertyHangout.org. Only this time, I won’t have to worry about being expelled for expressing my views.”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen