LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Gun rights advocates walked around the University of Louisville campus with their firearms Friday to encourage a discussion on the subject of campus carry.

Ilya Chernyavskiy and Aaron Spalding are U of L students and helped organize the Open Carry/Firearm Education Walk. This is the first open carry walk of its kind near a Kentucky university or college campus.

“Students should have the ability to conceal carry and have means of self-defense on campus without the fear of repercussion from administration,” Chernyavskiy said.

Participants said they want to educate others on guns, gun laws and safety. Chernyavskiy said a walk to encourage education and discussion is important right now, because he believes the Kentucky legislature is ignoring the subject of a campus carry law.

Some of the U of L students participating said they and their firearms are misunderstood.

“People stigmatize guns in such a negative way without having any knowledge of the actual firearms themselves,” Justin Ortiz said.

“Especially on campus, we’re looked down upon," Andy Burch said. "We are the total social outcasts. If we say something, it’s coming from the teacher and coming from the students that we’re wrong.”

“In our classes all week, the professors have been talking about be careful on Friday, because there’ll be a bunch of people with guns," Jonathan Howser added. "They’re talking like we’re going to be out here fighting each other with guns for the hell of it.”

Students who saw the walk and the display of guns had mixed reactions.

"If you're walking around campus with an assault rifle, it makes people uncomfortable," Dustin Carey said. "We're at school. We're supposed to be learning, not worrying about the amount of firepower walking around."

“I understand the whole wanting to protect your Second Amendment rights," Nico Ferreyra said. "But I don't understand the need to actively display assault weapons on a college campus, where that kind of thing already sets people on edge."

On the other hand, veteran Dustin Dones disagreed.

"It doesn’t bother me," he said. "I picked up a gun and served my country, and I feel like you should definitely have that right to carry. If you get into a situation where you need a gun, you better hope you have it."

Those participating had to stay on public sidewalks and kept their firearms holstered at all times. The university sent out an alert earlier in the week to warn students and staff of the walk.

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