A grad teaching assistant named Kate Nygren called police about an unattended weapon left in a bathroom at KU. A grad teaching assistant named Kate Nygren also testified against campus conceal and carry last winter.

A graduate teaching assistant who called police about a gun found in a bathroom at the University of Kansas shares the same distinctive name as a woman who offered testimony to the Kansas Legislature on campus concealed carry.

According to the Daily Kansan, a student who wished to remain anonymous told KU graduate teaching assistant Kate Nygren about finding a handgun in the bathroom. Nygren reported the gun to police. Police later learned the gun was reported stolen from an Olathe address.

“I think that what this indicates is that we maybe are having an issue with a degree of education about how to conceal and carry, how to report incidents relating to the reality of guns on campus and that may be something that the school needs to take very seriously,” Nygren told the Daily Kansan.

In February, a graduate student and instructor at KU named Kate Nygren, likely the same Kate Nygren, submitted written testimony about campus conceal and carry to a legislative committee. Her testimony supported legislation to exempt public universities from allowing individuals to carry concealed weapons on campus.

Nygren told the House Committee on Federal and State Affairs that a family member pulled out his handgun last Christmas and pointed it at her boyfriend, a guest in the home, to show off the weapon.

“This gun owner is an adult. He is married with children. He completed hunter safety training as a young man. He grew up surrounded by responsible gun owners who had served as positive role models,” her testimony reads. “And he pointed a gun at another human for no other reason than because he was excited to show it off. . . . I fear for what this means on college campuses.”

Nygren worried that Kansas students will not be required to complete gun safety classes and may be gun novices. “Students who buy the newest and most technologically-advanced guns will doubtless be proud of them,” she wrote. “I’m sure they’ll want to show them off. I’m much less sure that they’ll do so responsibly. After all, Kansas has taken no steps to encourage them to do so.”

Media outlets covering the story of the stolen weapon have insinuated that the incident would not have occurred had the Legislature granted the university an exemption from conceal and carry laws.

“Two weeks into the fall semester, the first in which Kansas students can legally carry concealed handguns on campuses, an unattended gun turned up Tuesday in a bathroom at the University of Kansas,” a Kansas City Star story begins.

Leaving a gun unattended is a violation of university rules, and stealing a weapon is a violation of the law. Someone ignored both university rules and state law. If the student reporters at the Daily Kansas were serious about their craft, they would investigate whether the person who left the gun did so out of carelessness or to make a point.

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