A Kansas professor who blamed the National Rifle Association for this week’s mass shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., has been suspended and could lose his job.
David Guth, a professor in the school of journalism at the University of Kansas, sparked controversy this week when he lashed out against the NRA. Within hours of the shooting that claimed the lives of 12 people as well as the shooter, Guth tweeted that blood is on the NRA’s hands.
“Next time, let it be YOUR sons and daughters,” Guth wrote. “Shame on you. May God d**n you.”
On Friday the university took action, placing the Kansas professor on administrative leave.
But some people have risen to the defense of the Kansas professor. Gary Brunk, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri, that while it may have been offensive, the tweet was “absolutely protected speech.”
“The response of the university is absolutely appalling,” he said.
University of Kansas officials acknowledged in a statement that Guth had a First Amendment right to his statement, but that the tweet violated university rules for civil discourse.
“The Board of Regents expresses its disgust and offense at the statement made by David Guth,” said a statement from Andy Tompkins, president and CEO of the Kansas Board of Regents.
Guth has also defended his actions.
“I don’t apologize for it because I’m not saying in the tweet that I want anybody harmed, and I expanded on it in my blog,” Guth told Fox4KC.com. “I defend the NRA’s rights first and second amendments and I hope they respect mine.”
The Kansas professor may lose his job over the flap. Sen. Majority Leader Terry Bruce, R-Hutchinson, called on the university to fire David Guth, noting that another professor was fired in 2005 for comments made in an online message board.
The Kansas State Rifle Association also wants Guth removed from the Kansas faculty.
“The KSRA will do everything possible to see to the removal of this man,” said Kansas State Rifle Association President Patricia Stoneking.
Firing the Kansas professor may be difficult, however. A spokesperson for the university said David Guth is tenured, having joined the journalism faculty in 1991.