KENT, Ohio — Kaitlin Bennett, more widely known as “Kent State’s Gun Girl,” is returning to the university this fall to host an open carry rally.
A photo of Bennett carrying an AR-10 and her graduation cap with the words “Come and take it” went viral in May. This photo was shared over 9,100 times on Twitter alone and had sparked controversy nationally, igniting a conversation about campus carry.
Liberty Hangout, an organization who works to “promote peace, prosperity, and property rights” will be hosting speakers, as well as livestreaming the event.
According to the event’s Facebook page, the “goal of the event is to create dialogue about campus carry, talk to students about why gun control doesn’t work, and bring gun owners and 2nd amendment supporters together.”
According to its website, Kent State University has rules prohibiting the possession, storage, or use of any “deadly weapons” by students, faculty, and staff on campus. However, this policy does not directly prohibit visitors from bringing weapons to campus.
Bennett and Liberty Hangout hope to see these policies repealed.
Bennett told Fox 8, “After my graduation photos with an AR-10 went viral, I was given a once in lifetime opportunity to have my message spread throughout the country for millions of people to hear.”
Bennett also said that during her time at the university she received multiple violent threats. She explained that she regularly saw fliers raising awareness about sexual violence on campus, but felt women were not offered a “way to protect themselves with a handgun.”
“I am having this rally to show that it is absolutely ridiculous that guests can show up to campus with rifles but students can’t conceal carry their handgun for protection,” explained Bennett, “I am also having this rally to show that I have not been silenced and I will never be silenced.”
The rally will take place from 2 to 5 p.m., according to the Facebook event. Rally goers can bring their weapons, but the event organizers say they must “carry it with a sling and proper muzzle control” and are to not “under any circumstances remove your weapon from your holster to show it to somebody.”
Following the rally’s completion, Bennett hopes to gather rally-goers and head out to the shooting range. She hopes to invite some students who may have “opened their minds a bit about guns because of the rally.”
More details on the rally here.