Kent State graduate poses with an AR-10 rifle outside campus to fight university rules
Kent State graduate posed with an AR-10 a day after graduation to make a point about campus rules prohibiting "deadly weapons" on campus
A Kent State University graduate who is a vocal conservative woman received death threats after she chose to push back against her school's anti-gun policies with a photo shoot where she carried an AR-10 rifle and wore a hat emblazoned with the words “Come and take it.”
22-year-old Kaitlin Bennett, a supporter of the Second Amendment from Zanesville, Ohio, posed in front of the Kent Student Center for the viral tweet. Bennett is the founder of Liberty Hangout at Kent State, a libertarian student media outlet that promotes Austrian economics, property rights, and peace.
Now that I graduated from @KentState, I can finally arm myself on campus. I should have been able to do so as a student- especially since 4 unarmed students were shot and killed by the government on this campus. #CampusCarryNow pic.twitter.com/a91fQH44cq— Kaitlin Marie (@KaitMarieox) May 13, 2018
The conservative is a strong supporter of the United States Constitution's Second Amendment that allows its citizens the right to keep and bear arms.
The 22-year-old firebrand referenced the 1970 shooting on campus when members of the Ohio National Guard opened fire on a group of Vietnam War protesters, killing four students.
“Now that I graduated from @KentState, I can finally arm myself on campus. I should have been able to do so as a student – especially since 4 unarmed students were shot and killed by the government on this campus. #CampusCarryNow,” she posted on Twitter Sunday.
In a conversation with Fox News, Bennett said that she wanted to slam the school's "insulting" policies.
“I wanted to draw attention to the gun policies on campus that allow guests to open carry, but not students,” she said. “I find it insulting that the school values the lives of their guests more than those attending the university for four years.”
Eric Mansfield, a spokesman for Kent State University, told Fox News that as Bennett is no longer part of the institution, she has violated none of their policies. The university is known for its rule prohibiting faculty, staff, and students from carrying "deadly weapons." However, Kent State’s firearms policy allows alums and visitors to carry outdoors on campus.
“After graduation, she joined the ranks of our proud graduates,” Mansfield said. “So at the time of this photo, she and other graduates would be permitted to open carry on our campus.”
According to the National Council for Home Safety and Security, the university was recently ranked the safest big college campus in Ohio and the 25th safest institution in the United States. Mansfield touted the fact that KSU has a certified police force of more than 30 sworn officers who work full time to protect the campus and the university.
Although Bennett has received several death threats because of her Twitter post, she says she has no regrets whatsoever.
“I have no apologies for my graduation photos,” she tweeted Tuesday. “As a woman, I refuse to be a victim & the second amendment ensures that I don't have to be.”
I have no apologies for my graduation photos. As a woman, I refuse to be a victim & the second amendment ensures that I don't have to be. pic.twitter.com/5CKmQobrMb— Kaitlin Marie (@KaitMarieox) May 15, 2018
She also made it clear in a subsequent tweet that the AR-10 is not an "assault rifle" as many of the users had claimed.
“Don’t talk about gun control,” Bennett wrote, “when you can’t even get your facts straight.”
"You see in the media a lot about college students and high school students, being advocates for gun control," she told NBC4. "But you don't see a lot going viral about students who are pro-second amendment and pro-gun rights."
Wouldn't it be awkward if the people calling my AR-10 in my grad photos an "assault rifle" found out assault rifles are banned & the AR-10 fires at the same rate as any modern pistol?— Kaitlin Marie (@KaitMarieox) May 16, 2018
Don't talk about gun control when you can't even get your facts straight.
The Second Amendment advocate has sparked a debate for her manner of expressing her opposition to the school's anti-gun policy.
Bennett explained her protest further in an interview with Campus Reform, saying, “Kent State University is a school in which the government shot four unarmed students 48 years ago."
"I believe not only that those four students would be alive today had they had the right to carry on campus, but that students today would be much safer.”
She argued, “Universities that prohibit students from defending themselves but allow guests to do so are in a sense saying that they don’t value the safety of their students. Why are guests more important than the students who are paying thousands of dollars to attend the university?”
We have campus carry in Texas, but we keep it concealed. I posted an every-day-carry picture one time but as a statement about the sad state of affairs that has come about since I began teaching. This wasn't part of my teacher's toolkit twelve years ago: pic.twitter.com/h9BpuLi9r3— Jason Rogers (@RogersforHD57) May 16, 2018
And, she plans to stay in the vicinity to work with the student group she founded on campus.
“If students thought my political activism at Kent will be over now that I have graduated, they are wrong,” she told Campus Reform.
“I will still be in the area and intend on returning to campus to assist with Liberty Hangout at Kent State ... Only this time, I won’t have to worry about being expelled for expressing my views."
Bennett's tweet comes after other young women went viral on social media posting pro-gun graduation photos on similar lines, including graduates from the University of Tennessee, Brittany Self and Brenna Spencer.