by Jack Minor —
In a victory for Second Amendment advocates, the Colorado Supreme Court today struck down a gun ban by the University of Colorado’s Board of Regents.
In 2003 the state legislature passed the Concealed Carry Act, which stated that a person with a permit to carry a concealed weapon could do so “in all areas of the state” with the exception of K-12 schools and buildings with specific security checkpoints such as a courthouse and certain federal buildings. The bill also prohibited local governments from enforcing any type of ordinance or resolution that conflicted with the law.
CU regents argued that they had the authority to ban firearms on all campus properties that were under the jurisdiction of university police, including leased buildings.
Following CU’s decision to ban licensed concealed weapons, three students with “Students for Concealed Carry on Campus” filed a suit against the university arguing the ban violated the Colorado Constitution as well as the Concealed Carry Act.
An El Paso district court judge sided with the University, saying the Board of Regents was a “statewide authority with its own legislative powers over distinct geographical areas” and not subject to the local government restrictions. The Colorado Court of Appeals reversed that decision saying it was plain the legislation’s authority was statewide.
A brief filed by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, cited State Sen. Ted Harvey, who affirmed that it was the legislature’s intent for the law to apply to state-owned colleges and universities.
“When the current concealed carry law was debated in 2003, there was much discussion about whether permit holders could carry on colleges and universities. The final, passed-into-law version of SB03-24, reflected the wishes of the legislature: a permit holder would be allowed to carry on state-owned colleges and universities, unless those schools went to the trouble of putting metal detectors and security personnel at every entrance,” Harvey said. “That’s why the current law reads as it does, and why many of us were surprised that some colleges and universities have violated state law.”
In a unanimous ruling, the Colorado Supreme Court upheld the appeals court decision, which means CU must now allow students to carry concealed weapons on its campus.
Supporters of CU’s ban argued it was necessary to protect student safety, pointing to the Virginia Tech shootings as an example. However, supporters of the Second Amendment pointed out that Virginia Tech already had a gun ban similar to CU’s and it provided no deterrent to the gunman who killed 33people.
Following the decision, Dudley Brown, executive director of RMGO, said, “First CSU and the Community Colleges, and now all the CU Campuses; finally, the administrators for Colorado’s public colleges have been told they don’t have dictatorial powers.”
He continued, “The creation of this criminal safezone, where only criminals are armed, was ill-advised and dangerous to anyone who finds themselves on a college campus.”
RMGO currently has a lawsuit against the Northern Colorado Medical Center in Greeley for its ban on concealed handguns inside the facility.