Colorado lawmakers debate bill to ban guns from college campuses

A Colorado House committee hearing featuring a debate on a bill that would ban guns from Colorado campuses.

A Colorado House committee hearing featuring a debate on a bill that would ban guns from Colorado campuses.

DENVER — A Supreme Court ruling last March overturned a ban on guns at the University of Colorado — a ban that had been in place for years.

Wednesday, state lawmakers will debate a bill seeking to not only reverse that ruling, but  to make it illegal to carry a gun on any of the state’s college campuses — even with a concealed permit.

Lawmakers were at odds on the issue last year and nothing appears likely to change in 2013.

“Where there is more concealed carry, there is less crime,” Republican Senator Greg Brophy said.

“To say that more guns make us safer is wrongheaded,” Democratic Representative Clair Levy retorted.

This has hardly been the only hotly-contested gun issue debated by state lawmakers this year.

At the state capitol on Tuesday, a House committee passed a bill requiring background checks for private gun sales, and a measure that would ban high-capacity magazines.

The measures weren’t passed without opposition.

“My fear here is that you may be well-intentioned with the legislation, however there is loophole that exists in the heart of man,” Republican Representative Jared Wright of Mesa County said. “And that is a loophole we’re never going to be able to fill or close as a government body.”

The debates echo a larger one going on at the national level. In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama urged Congress to vote for his gun control package, saying, “The families of Newtown deserve a vote. The victims of Aurora deserve a vote.

One of those victims was listening. Jensen Young lost her boyfriend Jon Blunk in the Aurora theater shooting last July, and responded to Obama’s words shortly after the address.

“I think they (guns) do keep people safe when they are in the right hands,” Young said. “I’m not in favor of taking away the freedom that we have, but something needs to be done.”