Kent State University taking extra precautions, increasing security for open carry walk

KENT, Ohio -- Kent State University is taking extra precautions and increasing security for a non-university affiliated open carry walk Saturday.

According to an email sent to the university  community, the open carry walk will take place September 29 from 2-5 p.m.

The event is being hosted by KSU graduate Kaitlin Bennett, who is known for the viral photos of her carrying an AR-10 at her graduation, and Liberty Hangout, an organization that promotes property rights.

KSU said "Kent State is in no way sponsoring or endorsing this event, nor did we invite any outside groups to campus."

The university said that Ohio law permits citizens to openly carry firearms on public property, which includes all public university campuses, however KSU prohibits faculty, staff and students from possessing firearms on and in university property.

"I'm not really looking forward to it to be honest, I just don't think it's right to be carrying a gun on campus, you know, I get it, we're all college students, I don't think anybody really poses a threat to each other, so I just don't think it's right," said KSU student Nick Ammon.

According to Kent State, social media indicates that a significant number of people are expected to attend Saturday's event, so the university "is taking precautions to ensure the safety of all during this time. The Kent State Police have developed a comprehensive safety and security plan and law enforcement professionals will be visible on campus. Please expect an increased level of security throughout the campus."

"I don't think these are the people you have to worry about causing problems, they're just here to prove a point, to support the Second Amendment and it's our God given right," said Jake Thompson.

"They are gonna do what they feel is right, like, I understand that, but like, at the same time, I feel sometimes that they overreact on things," said student Olesia Benedict.

Residence halls will implement guest security measures, as well have all entrances secured, KSU said.

The University Library and Kent Student Center, including the bookstore, and some campus roads will be closed Saturday.

The university is encouraging students, faculty and staff to exercise their best judgement on Saturday and said they have a variety of resources and supports available to those with questions or concerns.  You can access more information on those resources here.

Kent State University said,

"During this time, we remind all members of the university community of our shared commitment to Kent State's core values. While we honor freedom of expression and the free exchange of ideas, we are also a community that values the importance of diversity and inclusion where there is no place for language that demeans others. We are mindful that the events of Saturday may challenge those values, and we are committed to our top priority — the safety and security of our university community."

"I feel like it's good that the campus is providing extra security just in case because you can never know happens," said student Jared Rogers.

Continuing coverage, here.