Photo of Kent State student carrying AR-10 goes viral: ‘Come and take it’

KENT, Ohio — A photo of a Kent State University student carrying a rifle has gone viral.

The photo of Kaitlin Bennett also showed her holding a graduation cap with the phrase “come and take it” written on it. Bennett graduated from the university over the weekend, reports WJW.

“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,” she wrote in a Twitter post that’s been retweeted more than 1,800 times and garnered more than 8,500 likes.

Bennett’s comment about “4 unarmed students” referred to the May 4, 1970, shooting of students during a protest. Members of the Ohio National Guard opened fire on the students, killing four and wounding nine more.

Kent State’s website said the university has rules forbidding students, faculty and staff from carrying “deadly weapons.” The university told Refinery29 that Bennett, now that she’s a graduate, is within her rights to openly carry her rifle.

“Graduates are no longer considered students and would be permitted to open-carry, per the university policy,” said Eric Mansfield, the school’s executive director of media relations.

Bennett notified university police of her photo shoot ahead of time, Mansfield told the online publication. He provided the following statement to our sister station, WJW:

“Kent State University was recently ranked the safest big college campus in Ohio and 25th safest in the country, according to the National Council for Home Safety and Security. The university has a full-time, certified police force of more than 30 sworn officers who protect the campus. These officers are visible, well-trained and on duty 24/7 in support of students, staff and faculty.”

Bennett posted again on Tuesday, writing, “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.”

In another tweet, she railed against critics who referred to her AR-10 as an “assault rifle.”

“Wouldn’t it be awkward if the people calling my AR-10 in my grad photos an ‘assault rifle’ found out assault rifles are banned & the AR-10 fires at the same rate as any modern pistol?” she wrote. “Don’t talk about gun control when you can’t even get your facts straight.”