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KENT, Ohio - A recent graduate from Ohio's Kent State University posed on campus with her AR-10 in photos that quickly went viral and sparked a heated debate on social media.
According to USA Today, "the university bars students, staff and third parties doing business with Kent State from possessing deadly weapons" on school grounds. However, that rule doesn't apply to visitors as long as they keep their weapons out of campus buildings.
"Now that I graduated from @KentState, I can finally arm myself on campus," 22-year-old Kaitlin Bennett tweeted Sunday along with a photo of her carrying her rifle and a graduation cap that reads, "Come and take it."
"I should have been able to do so as a student – especially since 4 unarmed students were shot and killed by the government on this campus," she added with the hashtag #CampusCarryNow. In 1970, National Guardsmen shot and killed four student protesters on campus.
Now that I graduated from @KentState, I can finally arm myself on campus. I should have been able to do so as a student- especially since 4 unarmed students were shot and killed by the government on this campus. #CampusCarryNow pic.twitter.com/a91fQH44cq— Kaitlin Marie (@KaitMarieox) May 13, 2018
The image, which has received more than 18,000 likes and 4,400 retweets, prompted thousands of replies from critics and supporters.
may I just ask what exactly you need a weapon like that for other than a task that would lead to mass destruction. that’s a weapon of war. was this to merely start controversy or are you just an extremely hostile and dangerous person? you shouldnt be taking so much pride in this— nikki (@astrlolgy) May 14, 2018
But Black Women can’t take a nap in her dorm’s common room without the police being called?— Dr. Caroline Madden (@cmaddenmft) May 16, 2018
Are you guys scared ? Cause it sounds like it. I enjoy seeing Americans ready to defend themselves. I see no problem with it. Just relax no need to get worked up over the sight of a gun.— AciemPatriot (@AciemPatriot) May 15, 2018
My father who was at the Kent shooting fully supports what you're doing! More Americans nees to understand what a LAWFUL gun owner looks like, instead of getting triggered over the sight of firearm...— Justin Bilyj (@JustinBilyj) May 16, 2018
Bennett later tweeted another photo, saying she had "no apologies."
"As a woman, I refuse to be a victim & the second amendment ensures that I don't have to be," she wrote.
I have no apologies for my graduation photos. As a woman, I refuse to be a victim & the second amendment ensures that I don't have to be. pic.twitter.com/5CKmQobrMb— Kaitlin Marie (@KaitMarieox) May 15, 2018
She also said she has gotten a job offer and marriage proposals since her post went viral.
Not only have I received a job offer tonight, but several young men have offered their hands in marriage to me. I'm sorry I have to decline. I have a boyfriend. pic.twitter.com/q7YX4oi2Pi— Kaitlin Marie (@KaitMarieox) May 17, 2018
But she said she has received threats, as well.
“Gun control advocates are trying to call me violent for my graduation picture that promotes the right to self-defense, meanwhile I'm getting threatening messages like this in my inbox from these very same people,” she tweeted along with a screenshot of a Twitter user’s threat to “beat the [expletive] out of her.”