Colorado State rescinds gun ban after court ruling
DENVER – Guns will continue to be legal on the Colorado State University System’s two campuses.
The CSU Board of Governors voted Wednesday to rescind a campus gun ban, citing a Colorado Court of Appeals ruling last month that overturned a similar ban at the University of Colorado.
The appeals court sided with Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, which argued the CU policy violated the Colorado Concealed Carry Act.
The CSU board had approved the ban for its campuses in Fort Collins and Pueblo in February. It was to take effect in August.
After the ruling against CU, SCCC and the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners Association filed a complaint against CSU in Larimer County District Court, saying the CU ruling clears the way to overturn campus weapons bans, including CSU’s policy.
“Clearly CSU did not have a leg to stand on, and they saw a lawsuit that gave them absolutely no choice,” said Dudley Brown, director of the RMGO.
Brady Allen, a senior studying history at CSU and an outspoken opponent of the CSU weapons ban said, “I think they finally realized it would be a waste of student’s money to fight it in court.”
A judge had previously thrown out the CU case in May 2009, saying he found nothing in the state constitution that would prohibit a campus gun ban.
The 2003 Concealed Carry Act prohibits local governments from limiting concealed carry rights. To obtain a concealed carry permit, applicants must be at least 21 and must undergo an extensive background check.
“It’s unfortunate that the school (CSU) will be allowing guns on campus,” said Daniel Vice, senior attorney at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “It will be one of the few colleges in the nation to do so and will endanger the lives of students at the school.”
Gun-rights advocates say gun-free campuses make students vulnerable to attack. Currently, 26 states ban concealed weapons on any school property. Twenty-two states allow individual campuses to decide.
The Utah Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that colleges must allow concealed weapons on campuses.
Jim Manley, Mountain States Legal Foundation staff attorney, said CSU students have grown comfortable with the idea that self-defense on campus is no less important, and no more threatening, than self-defense off-campus.
CU continues to enforce its 1994 policy banning weapons from campus.
“They (CSU) obviously have to do what they believe is best to do for their campuses,” said Ken McConnellogue, spokesman for CU. He said campus officials have not yet decided whether to appeal the court’s decision.
Jim Manley, attorney for SCCC in the lawsuit against CU, said the university has until May 12 ask the Court of Appeals to rehear the case, or until June 1 to appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court.