MATC adopts gun ban

By Bryan Richardson

Manhattan Area Technical College (MATC) is the latest higher education institution to adopt a resolution extending the prohibition of weapons on campus up to four years.

The decision came unanimously from the MATC Board of Directors Monday afternoon.

Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill into law during the 2013 session that authorizes concealed carry licensees to carry a concealed handgun into any state or municipal building. This law goes into effect in July 1 for those without an exemption.

Rob Edleston, MATC president and CEO, said the campus already has security and safety policies and has a security guard. He said the next steps are to study the cost of meeting the requirements in the statute.

In the law, a state agency or municipality can’t maintain a ban unless the building has adequate security measures and adopted personnel policies.

Edleston said the measures include electronic metal detectors, armed guards, a means to collect and store weapons, and restricting access to certain entry points.  He said it wouldn’t be easy implementing these measures on campus due to the setup of MATC with multiple buildings on the campus.

“The logistics of putting those types of measures will run in the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years,” he said. “We have to find the source of funding.”

Edleston said MATC is proceeding with the expectations of following the law. “We don’t have a choice,” he said. “No one has a choice.”

Edleston said he’s not concerned about concealed carry by legally licensed persons, but those who choose to break the law that will stretch both resources and the comfort level of those around them.

“There will also need to be time,” he said, “for employees and students to culturally adapt to the concept of legally armed individuals sitting side-by-side in a classroom.”

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