Hundreds packed open carry walk at Kent State University
Hundreds of students are at Kent State University for an open carry walk on Saturday afternoon.
Hundreds came to Kent State University Saturday afternoon for an open carry walk.
The walk was organized by 22-year-old Kaitlin Bennett, who gained attention after posing with an AR-10 rifle in her graduation pictures.
The event was originally planned to be an open carry rally but was switched to a walk after the university banned guns at the event and was going to charge thousands of dollars in security costs.
Kent State Campus Police developed a comprehensive security plan for the walk. In addition, they took steps to help manage opposing crowds.
The university closed down the Kent State Student Center, which includes the bookstore. They even canceled some events and implemented guest security measures in residence halls.
Ian Mulhern was upset about several buildings that were closed on campus due to the walk.
Mulhern said, "It seems kind of wrong that they're about to shut down so many academic institutions just so these people can tote guns around our campus."
Most students at Kent State took the university's advise and stayed away. Others came out to watch but were hopeful sides could talk and exchange ideas.
Jack Carey, a student, said, "I hope maybe some people will change their minds both ways. I think everyone can learn something from each other. Last year the event was better. The gun owners met and talked with people and answered questions. There was not all the confrontations."
There seemed to be no meeting of the minds with a lot of yelling, chanting and cursing -- even some arrests.
Officials said four people were arrested. They all face charges of disorderly conduct, and one of them faces an additional charge of assault on a police officer.
One person is believed to have been knocked unconscious and another received an abrasion to the forehead.
During a press conference, Kent State University's President Beverly Warren said, "While there were some heated challenges and exchanges today, I am pleased to say that today's event concluded with minimal violence and injury and no damage to university property."
At the end of the day, both sides believed the walk was a success for first amendment rights of free speech.
Bennett said, "You can't intimidate us. Gun owners are tired of being demeaned and lied about, so we are going to show we are peaceful, we are calm, and we are kind. That's who gun owners are."