On this day in 2018, Kaitlin Bennett and her family headed to Kent State University to take graduation photos that would forever change their lives.
During her time as a Kent State student, Bennett was a fierce advocate for free speech and the 2nd amendment, among other libertarian values she fought for on campus. Bennett was the president and founder of Liberty Hangout at Kent State, Liberty Hangout’s first college chapter in the United States.
Bennett frequently collected signatures to petition Kent State to protect her civil rights on campus, and hosted events which garnered national attention. Her anti-safe-space event in 2017 captured headlines everywhere, and in April of 2018 she hosted an open carry demonstration.
Weeks after her open carry event, Bennett and her fiance came up with a bold idea to promote campus carry nationwide. As a student, Kent State’s student code of conduct prohibited her from carrying a firearm on campus. Kent State’s policies do not apply to guests, however, who are protected under the 2nd amendment to open carry firearms at public universities in Ohio.
On the morning of her graduation, Bennett wasn’t even able to conceal carry her handgun on campus. But just hours later, since she was no longer a student, Bennett could return to campus with an AR-10 rifle and a 30 round magazine strapped to her back.
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 Bennett (@KaitMarieox) May 13, 2018
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 Bennett (@KaitMarieox) May 15, 2018
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 Bennett (@KaitMarieox) May 17, 2018
Bennett’s graduation photos quickly blew up on the Internet, and started a national conversation about campus carry. Her photos did not come without controversy, however. She quickly received death threats for her photos, and had her CCW license rushed at her local sheriff’s office because of them.
Bennett’s graduation photos were talked about all over the world, and even covered by outlets in the UK, Australia, and India. Her photos earned her an interview on Fox & Friends, which prompted more media attention elsewhere online.
Bennett was quickly back in national headlines days later, after Hollywood actor Jim Carrey painted an unflattering photo of Bennett in front of the devil, blaming her for a school shooting in Texas.
Then, weeks later, Bennett sarcastically challenged prominent gun control activist David Hogg to an arm wrestle to decide the fate of the 2nd amendment. Leftists online were enraged by Bennett’s challenge, and made her arm wrestle challenge as viral as her graduation photos.
Bennett continued to rise in national prominence over the summer of 2018, making headlines every step of the way. She has spoken at gun rallies across the country, been invited to college campuses, and organized another open carry event at Kent State which was protested by hundreds of masked Antifa members.
One year later, Bennett is a field correspondent for InfoWars, and has a massive following online. Prior to taking her graduation photo, Bennett had a mere 500 followers on Twitter. Today she has 195k followers on Twitter, 150k on Facebook, 72k on Instagram, and 184k on Liberty Hangout’s YouTube channel, for a combined following of more than 600k across four social media platforms.
Support Kaitlin and her #CampusCarryNow initiative by ordering a t-shirt here.