Armed man on campus prompted gun policy discussion

Diontre Davis is currently in the Fayette County Jail after bringing a gun onto UK’s campus on Nov. 27, 2017. Photo taken from the Fayette County Jail website. 

Bailey Vandiver

The incident on Nov. 27 when an armed man came onto UK’s campus prompted campus organizations to address gun policies on college campuses.

Both the UK Students for Concealed Carry on Campus and the UK College Democrats made statements concerning the incident.

The incident affirmed their differing views on guns on campus: UKSCCC reasserted the need for concealed carry to be allowed on campus, while the College Democrats argued that UK’s campus needs no more guns than it already has.

The organizations agreed on one thing, though: Both praised the UK Police Department for its speedy response.

UKSCCC president Scott Thalman wrote in the statement that “UKPD did an outstanding job monitoring and stopping (Diontre Davis).”

The College Democrats “praise” the response of UKPD.

“Their handling of the incident prevented an already alarming situation from potentially turning into something far worse,” the statement said.

However, UKSCCC used the incident to call for the allowance of concealed carry for permit holders on UK’s campus.

“This serves as a reminder that very real and dangerous threats to student safety do, in fact, exist,” Thalman wrote in the statement. “We believe that students, faculty, and staff have the right to defend themselves in these situations, no matter how unlikely they may be.”

Thalman said that there are now more than 200 campuses in 11 states that allow licensed students to carry on campus.

Thalman mentioned a bill proposed by state Rep. Tim Moore last spring that would have allowed campus carry, but it never reached a committee hearing, Thalman said.

The College Democrats, on the other hand, said this incident proves that more firearms on campus are definitely not needed.

“The simple truth of the matter is that allowing more firearms on our campus and in incidents like that which occurred (last) week would do nothing to make us safer,” the statement said. “Such an action would complicate these difficult situations, including the one this past Monday, which was well-handled by UKPD.”

But Thalman offered a hypothetical situation in which Davis decided to confront the UK student he had previously been threatening while she was alone at her car at night, for example.

“In effect, he would have had the university’s guarantee that she would be disarmed and unable to defend herself,” Thalman said.

He said he does not know if the student has a CCDW permit, or if it would have helped even if she had.

“But if the suspect had hired someone to steal her gun so that she would be defenseless when he confronted her, we would call that person an accomplice,” he said. “The university should not be filling that role for a potential killer.”

Thalman concluded the statement by again praising UKPD for its fast response time of 90 seconds, which Capilouto shared in his campus-wide email.

But he said that he hopes this incident makes more people on UK’s campus realize the need for self-defense.

“Ultimately, we are responsible for our own personal safety,” Thalman wrote, “because even at their very best, the UKPD is 90 seconds away.”

But the College Democrats said that allowing students or faculty members to wield firearms when they lack the judgment and training that UKPD officers have would only “make a threatening situation all the more dangerous.”

“(UKPD’s) success in stopping this individual so rapidly illustrates the efficacy of our present system,” the statement said.

Davis, who did not have a concealed carry permit according to police reports, was arrested Nov. 27 and remains in the Fayette County Jail.