Kent State University senior Kaitlin Bennett says her fellow college students often are presented only one side of the gun control debate.

She’s determined to help change that.

Bennett, president of Liberty Hangout, has invited gun rights advocate and firearms instructor Jeffry Smith from Cincinnati to host the Kent State University Open Carry/Firearms Liberty Outreach at 11 a.m. Friday.

“The goal really is to spur dialogue,” said Bennett, 22, a biology major from Zanesville. “If students have questions about firearms, we can answer them and have a conversation about gun control and how important the Second Amendment is.”

The event, being held outside the Kent Student Center, is open to the general public and will feature people carrying their weapons. It is legal to openly carry a gun in Ohio.

Organizers have asked participants to keep their long arms in a sling and their handguns holstered.

Bennett expects about 40 to 50 people to attend.

Kent State has a policy barring students, staff and faculty from carrying guns on campus, but others are welcome.

“Kent State is one of the few schools in Ohio that decided that students wouldn’t be permitted to open carry on campus while guests can,” Bennett said. “That’s a little problematic, especially if guests can have weapons. We should be able to as well.”

The demonstration is especially needed at left-leaning Kent State, Bennett said, adding that she has received some negative reaction for her activism.

Many students support gun rights but are too afraid to speak up, she said.

“There’s a lot of talk of gun control in general on campus and I don’t think there is the other side being presented at all,” said Bennett, who has taken a class to receive her concealed carry permit. “There’s a one-sided campaign against gun rights and it’s important that this campus gets introduced to the other side of that.”

The gun rights demonstration isn’t the first for Smith on the Kent State campus. He held a similar event in September 2016.

“It was very professional and they worked well with our police department,” Kent State spokesman Eric Mansfield said. “And that’s what we expect again. We expect a peaceful event.”

Smith has held similar events at other Ohio college campuses, including an open carry walk at the University of Akron in April 2015.

For more details about the Kent State event, go to: www.facebook.com/events/186341808671515.

Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or rarmon@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @armonrickABJ.