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A Kent State graduate in Ohio went viral after she posted a photo of her carrying an AR-10 rifle and a graduation cap with the phrase, “Come and Take It” written on it.

Ohio Campus Carry & Open Carry

Ohio currently allows campus carry, but each school has the final say as to whether or not it is allowed on its grounds. Kent State prohibits it. Meanwhile, Ohio is also an open carry state, yet the practice is forbidden for Kent State students. Non-student guests, however, can open carry on campus.

Kent State Graduate Photos

That’s why 22-year-old Kaitlin Bennett, who had just graduated from Kent State with a degree in Biology, put the following photo up on her Twitter account:

Bennett’s photo was retweeted over 2,000 times. It also had nearly 1,000 comments and almost 9,000 likes.

“You see in the media a lot about college students and high school students being advocates for gun control,” Bennett told WKYC. “But you don’t see a lot going viral about students who are pro-second amendment and pro-gun rights.”

Days after posting that first picture, Bennett posed for another photo with her AR-10:

Battling Back

Needless to say, the photos attracted both praise and criticism, with Bennett battling back against her opponents.

In another tweet, she took aim at those who called her AR-10 an “assault rifle.”

Campus Response

Kent State spokesman Eric Mansfield said Bennett was within her rights to open carry her AR-10, telling The Blast, “After graduation, [Bennett] joined the ranks of our proud graduates. So at the time of this photo, she and other graduates would be permitted to open carry on our campus.”

In an interview with Campus Reform, Bennett said Kent State’s gun policies make students less safe.

“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,” she said. “Why are guests more important than the students who are paying thousands of dollars to attend the university?”

Mansfield counters that Kent State’s police force of 30 officers can protect the students on campus.

“The university has a full-time, certified police force of more than 30 sworn officers who protect the campus,” Mansfield said. “These officers are visible, well-trained and on duty 24/7 in support of students, staff and faculty.”

Bennett rejects this, though, stating that, “pulling out a gun is easier than dialing 911.”

This isn’t Bennett’s first brush with media attention. Last month, she was one of the organizers of a gun rights march on the Kent State campus.

 

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