Colorado Supreme Court Strikes Down UC Gun Ban
In an unanimous decision in the case of Regents of the University of Colorado v. Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, the Colorado Supreme Court struck down the University of Colorado’s (CU’s) campus gun ban. As Monte Whaley writes for The Denver Post, the court said CU’s Board of Regents had overstepped its authority in blocking students from carrying licensed concealed weapons.
According to the written decision:
In justifying the Policy, the Board of Regents stated that firearm possession is ‘inconsistent with the academic mission of the [University of Colorado] and, in fact, undermines it’; ‘threatens the tranquility of the educational environment in an intimidating way’; and ‘contributes in an offensive manner to an unacceptable climate of violence.’
However, the court ruled that the state legislature did not mean to exempt the university system from a 2003 law that allows permit holders “to carry a concealed handgun in all areas of the state,” except for in elementary and secondary schools and public buildings with security checkpoints, reports Lawrence Biemiller in The Chronicle of Higher Education. He adds that the court said the legislature could have included an exemption in that law for university campuses, but did not.
The court did not consider another, broader argument brought by Students for Concealed Carry on Campus that a university gun ban “placed an impermissible limit on that state constitution’s guarantee of a right to bear arms.” The justices said they did not need to consider this question because they could resolve the case by deciding the statutory claim.
Bruce D. Benson, the university’s president, released a statement saying that he was disappointed by the court’s ruling, but that the university would ‘abide by the ruling and determine how it affects our campuses.’ In addition to the main campus, in Boulder, the university has campuses in Colorado Springs and Denver, as well as a medical campus, also in Denver.
The case was being closely watched elsewhere, including at Colorado State University, which in 2010 backed away from a plan to adopt a concealed-weapons ban of its own.
James Manley of the Mountain State Legal Foundation, which argued against CU’s ban, said: “My clients are extremely happy. They will now be able to exercise their constitutional rights to carry on campus.”
Education News Colorado reports that Republican legislators are pushing House Bill 12-1092, which would allow people entitled to own guns to carry them concealed without obtaining a separate concealed weapon permit. If passed, that bill would apply to college campuses.
Image by Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, used under Fair Use: Reporting.