Kent State ‘Gun Girl’ Visit to Ohio University Sparks Protests

Kaitlin Bennett became known for posting graduation photos with her openly carrying a semi-automatic rifle on the Kent State campus.

Kent State ‘Gun Girl’ Visit to Ohio University Sparks Protests

Gun rights activist Kaitlin Bennett is calling on President Donald Trump to strip federal funding from Ohio University after she says she was harassed by students while shooting a video on the Athens campus.

Bennett, who was dubbed the Kent State “gun girl” in 2018 when she posted her graduation photos while openly carrying a semi-automatic rifle on the campus, told Fox News that she was at Ohio University Monday to shoot a “President’s Day Trivia” video when she and her friend were confronted by protesters.

“So, we were just asking simple questions like, ‘Who were the first three presidents?’ A mob quickly formed around us. They didn’t want me there,” she said.

Footage of Bennett on various parts of campus circulated social media, showing students yelling and throwing items at her, including toilet paper. In one video, Bennett is seen being carried out by her private security guard.

Bennett posted a video on her Twitter of an angry crowd cursing and throwing liquids and various items at her vehicle.

“This is what happens when a Trump supporter goes to a college campus. Leftists at @ohiou started a riot when @Joelpatrick1776 and I showed up, and the @oupolice let it happen,” she captioned the video. “I think @realDonaldTrump should strip funding from universities like this that harbor terrorists.”

Bennett can be heard in the video criticizing campus police for letting the protesters harass them.

“He told me he cannot help me. He has nowhere for me to go,” she said of one of the officers. “These cops are watching this happen. There’s another one.”

Ohio University Police said in a statement that the “unexpected” presence of an activist on campus drew large crowds of students who “also chose to exercise their first amendment rights.” Bennett disputed campus police’s claim that they received no prior notice of her arrival, alleging the department “refused to help and lied in their press statement about what happened,” according to NBC News.

Campus police also denied Bennett’s claims that the incident escalated to a “riot.”

“Contrary to allegations circulating on social media, the incident did not rise to the level of a riot,” they wrote. “The officers on duty had to prioritize their response to the events as they unfolded, rightly putting everyone’s personal safety ahead of all other concerns.”

University administrators said it takes concerns about “complex situations like this” seriously and that its primary focus is on the safety of students and visitors.

“We are a public institution and we take that responsibility very seriously by respecting the rights of all persons to express themselves in a lawful manner,” officials wrote in a statement.

Bennett tweeted that she would return to the campus with “an army of gun owners for an open carry walk through campus.”

Bennett was prohibited from carrying a firearm on the Kent State campus when she was a student. After graduating, she was considered a visitor and legally allowed to openly carry the rifle on campus.

About the Author

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Amy is Campus Safety’s Senior Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy’s mother, brother, sister-in-law and a handful of cousins are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

In her free time, Amy enjoys exploring the outdoors with her husband, her son and her dog.

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5 responses to “Kent State ‘Gun Girl’ Visit to Ohio University Sparks Protests”

  1. Gene Harris says:

    So much for free speech and teaching students to think for themselves. It seems most universities have been transformed into socialist anti-freedom teachings cells, raising up a generation of followers who can’t think for themselves, and don’t know what it took to buy their freedom to be fools! There is a saying, don’t be so open minded your brain falls out. It could also be said, don’t be so closed minded that your brain atrophies from lack of use and dies.

  2. Rick says:

    Free speech doesn’t involve physical assault of someone you don’t agree with.

  3. James Bolling says:

    Someone should educate these universities to the fact that firearms ownership is a civil right, protected by the constitution. Just as you don’t have to like what a person says, they still have the 1st amendment right to say it. You don’t have to own a firearm, but you must respect others 2nd amendment right to own one.

    Violating either is a civil rights violation.

  4. Larry Patterson says:

    I agree that an individual has the right to freedom of expression unless and until it violates the rights of others. While I was not present to observe the alleged incident, as a former university professor, my general response to these events is that I deplore any activity that is designed to foment or incite unruly behavior of any sort.

  5. Ervin says:

    There are multiple activities going on, on both sides, in my opinion. 1st: “Gun Girl” went back to her university after she was a student and had previous knowledge of the environment and probably what would happen if she showed up carrying a weapon, even though it is her right too. Thus then I question her true motive, was it just for her video, since she was just asking simple questions like, “who were the first three presidents?” Then why bring a weapon, even though it is her right; which I do support and believe in the 2nd Amendment. Which then I agree with @Larry Patterson, why disrupt the environment. 2nd: For the students that participated in the brash and physical protest of “Gun Girl”, I will not agree with everyone, but I will respect their opinions and beliefs. If these students disagreed with “Gun Girl” then there is a proper way of protesting, even if it is last minute. Finally, for the security officers/campus security/campus police, in my opinion, it is there job to keep the peace and to protect, if someone or people are getting objects thrown at them, may it be a liquid (water) then security needs to control that environment for the safety of all. Side note: If the liquid that was thrown/spilled/splashed/dropped on the individual(s) the question that I would have to that university would be was that liquid in a new sealed bottle or container? If it wasn’t, how would that individual that the liquid went on know if the person(s) that thrown the liquid didn’t have some type of medical issue, such as HEP C or B?

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