No guns allowed at KSU open-carry rally

Akron Beacon Journal |

--Kent State University is allowing a Second Amendment rally to take place on its main campus -- except no one is allowed to bring guns.

The university confirmed Friday that it has approved conservative political group Liberty Hangout's request to host an open-carry gun rally on Risman Plaza but banned guns from the event.

Because the event is sponsored by a student organization, all participants -- even non-students -- must follow student activity policies, the university said in a prepared statement.

The KSU Policy Regarding Deadly Weapons states "students, staff, faculty and third parties during business with the university are further prohibited from possessing, storing or using a deadly weapon while outside on university grounds, that is owned, operated or leased by the university."

But Kaitlin Bennett, a recent Kent State graduate who earned national attention by sharing graduation photos of her holding a rifle on campus, said in a Facebook post on Friday she plans to openly carry her weapon at the rally.

"We are still showing up and we will be open-carrying," she said. "We did it in April. It's our constitutional right. It's legally allowed."

The Beacon Journal reached out to KSU spokesman Eric Mansfield to ask what the consequences would be if anyone were to open carry at the rally. He declined to comment beyond the university's written statement.

"The health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and visitors are our top priorities," the university said in the statement. "Kent State upholds the right to free speech and freedom of expression for all, and values respectful dialogue from all points of view."

Liberty Hangout must pay for security costs for the event, according to KSU .

The university previously issued a "cease and desist" order against Bennett in late August because the event was not registered at the time.

Bennett, one of the organizers of the rally, has said speakers will include Millie Weaver from InfoWars, Joe Gibson of Patriot Prayer and political activist Ryan Fournier.

The speakers requested won't be permitted to use the university's Kiva auditorium due to not reserving the space at least four weeks in advance, according to the university.

Staff writer Brandon Bounds can be reached at bbounds@thebeaconjournal.com or 330-996-3762.

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