Kansas to allow concealed carry on college campuses

By Ashley Hocking

Kansas legislature passed a policy that will allow citizens to carry concealed firearms on college campuses. The bill was signed by Governor Sam Brownback in March 2015 and will be enacted as law in July 2017.

Kansas is the sixth state to allow concealed carry, according to the Kansas City Star.

According to the legislation, safety protocols and provisions implemented will be funded directed from the University, rather than the state of Kansas.

The legislation will allow individuals over the age of 21 to conceal and carry firearms without a permit, training or a background check.

“I believe that proper training, background checks and licenses are imperative to gun safety,” said Jacob Ellenberger, a member of The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program at KU. “An untrained shooter may end up causing harm even if he or she meant to help. I support guns, but do not support everyone running around with guns.”

According to the New York Times, 42 school shootings have occurred this year alone. Many students wonder how their safety will be ensured on campus after the policy is implemented.

“I will not feel safe with guns on campus,” said McKenzie Ortiz, the student senator of freshman/sophomore liberal arts & sciences. “I think student safety should be the top priority. In order to ensure safety, we need policy to be changed.”

Freshman Scott Gilmore, a fellow member of the ROTC program, believes the number of gun-related accidents will escalate after the policy is implemented.

“The situation of having a gun on campus will be so exotic that hands will drift to the weapons like moths to a flame,” Gilmore said.

As a person of color, Ortiz believes allowing guns on campus will particularly affect people of color in a detrimental way.

“Black people are more likely to be victim of violent crimes, specifically crimes with guns,” Ortiz said. “Minority students often communicate that they feel unsafe on campus, allowing guns will only worsen the situation.”

Gilmore believes being a member of his organization will make him a target to potential shooters on campus.

“As a member of a ROTC, I stick out,” Gilmore said. “If I am in uniform, then a shooter looking for his first random victim will be immediately drawn to me because I stick out like a sore thumb from my peers.”

Ellenberger, on the other hand, will feel safer on campus once the ability to conceal and carry is implemented.

“I know that the likelihood of me being harmed by a firearm is just as high now as it will be when students can concealed carry on campus,” Ellenberger said. “The irrational people who would shoot me probably would have guns anyways.”

While Gilmore fears his involvement with the ROTC program might make him stand out to a shooter, he agrees with the constitutional right to bear arms.

“I believe those of sound mental state and proper training should be allowed to have firearms,” Gilmore said. “I personally do not own a gun, but respect the rights of others to have them because people should have the ability to defend themselves.”

Student Senate created an online survey to gauge students’ opinions and reactions to the policy, Ortiz said. The survey will be available by the end of October.

“Student Senate is also having talks about how things on campus will look after the policy is implemented,” Ortiz said. “These talks include students from every political affiliation and opinion on guns.”
Student Senate hopes to have surveys collected by December, so student senators can propose solutions for campus safety during the Spring.

Niece of rockstar remains humble

By Ashley Hocking

While few people in this world get the chance to meet celebrities, Alyssa Elliott is related to one. Elliott is a sophomore at the University of Kansas and the niece of rock band Def Leppard’s lead singer Joe Elliott.

Elliott describes her relationship with her uncle as a very close bond.

“He’s so down to earth, and we can talk for hours,” Elliott said. “He has so many stories, and it’s fun to just listen to him talk.”

Joe and his family reside in Dublin, Ireland, so Elliott doesn’t get to see her uncle face-to-face very often. Listening to his music has served as an outlet for Elliott to connect with her uncle.

“Growing up, my parents would play his music in the car everywhere we went and in the house all the time,” Elliott said. “I grew up with that music. I still listen to it now. It’s a comfort to me.”

Elliott’s favorite song by Def Leppard is “Where Does Love Go When It Dies” from the 1996 album Slang.

“Joe actually wrote it, and I didn’t know that initially,” Elliott said. “The song is a lot different from their other work, and I really like it. He wrote it to go with the grunge rock era of the ‘90s.”

Elliott attributes her taste in classic rock to her uncle.

“My uncle filled my iPod when I was younger and all of it was classic rock, so that’s what I’ve listened to for a long time,” Elliott said.

Def Leppard has gone on tour 20 times with shows in the United States. Elliott has seen every tour her uncle performed in since she was in second grade.

Being a family member of the band’s lead singer has many perks, including front row seats, all-access passes, getting to see sound check, going backstage, private parking, and spending time in family rooms backstage.

When her uncle performs nearby, their time together is limited to a few hours after the concert because the band has to pack up and move on to the next stop on their tour the following day.

During middle and high school, being related to Joe Elliott became a part of Alyssa Elliott’s identity among her peers.

“My friends liked to talk about my uncle because they thought it was cool,” Elliott said. “People knew me as the ‘Def Leppard girl.’”

Elliott prefers to keep her relationship with Joe to herself because she doesn’t like to draw attention to it.

“I tried not to talk about it ever because I didn’t want people to define me based on who my uncle is,” Elliott said. “In the past, I struggled with people talking behind my back about it.”

While some people easily get caught up in fame, Elliott never forgets that her uncle is just a regular guy most of the time.

“He’s human, and a lot of people don’t understand that,” Elliott said. “Seeing behind the scenes of a band and a musician that tours is really cool. But you also see that it’s very taxing on their bodies to do their lifestyle that they live.”

Joe Elliott was one of the founding members of Def Leppard in 1977 when he was 17 years old. 38 years later, Def Leppard is still actively touring and creating music.

“Every one of the band members is very cool,” Elliott said. “They know how to do their job and they know how to do it well. It’s really cool to see that they’re still touring.”

Joe and his band’s achievements motivate Elliott in her daily life.

“He came from humble beginnings and showed me that becoming famous actually can happen to anybody,” Elliott said. “His band inspires me to be successful.”