By Will Wright | Assistant News Editor

Students will hold an empty holster protest at the Student Center outside Starbucks on Tuesday with the goal of promoting the right for students with concealed carry permits to carry guns on campus.

UK’s chapter of Students for Concealed Carry hopes a law will be passed that will force public universities to uphold people’s right to carry concealed weapons on campus if they have a permit, said Tyler Waide, Kentucky director of Students for Concealed Carry and president of the UK chapter.

“I don’t think it gets much more important than this,” said Waide, a political science senior. “It’s a safety issue and safety comes first.”

Right now, Waide said, it is legal for people with permits to carry concealed guns in Kentucky, but UK can punish students for breaking its ban on concealed firearms on campus.

He said the university reserves the right to suspend or expel students who do not abide by the campus rules.

“It’s really a civil rights issue,” Waide said.

Allowing students to carry guns on campus would allow people to protect themselves, Waide said, creating a safer campus.

“(UK’s rule) really doesn’t make any sense to me,” Waide said. “Especially for women, guns are the ultimate equalizer.”

Students for Concealed Carry formed after the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, and Waide said he is optimistic that a conservative push among the public will allow for progress to be made during the upcoming elections.

“It’s going to be a big shift for the conservatives,” Waide said. “I don’t think we’re that far (from passing the law).”