DENVER — The Colorado Supreme Court has struck down a gun ban by the University of Colorado Board of Regents that had prevented students from carrying concealed handguns on campus.
The court sided with opponents of that ban who argued that the ban is illegal because it was never approved by the state legislature.
The Concealed Carry Act, passed in 2003, prohibits local governments from limiting concealed carry rights with a few exceptions: K-12 schools, places where guns are banned by federal law, public buildings with metal detectors and private property.
College campuses were not accepted under the law.
At the Capitol, most Republicans celebrated the ruling, as some Democrats mulled a legislative “fix”, measures that might be introduced next year to either allow colleges and universities to set their own safety policies or to amend the Concealed Carry Act with an additional exemption for higher education institutions.
“It just doesn’t seem appropriate that the state legislature is able to tell the CU Board of Regents what can and can’t happen on the campus of the University of Colorado,” said Rep. Claire Levy, D-Boulder.
For Levy, the former chairwoman of the House Judiciary Committee, it’s not just that — it’s also a concern about allowing more guns on college campuses.
“To say that more guns makes us more safe is wrong-headed,” she said. “What you’re asking for is violence.”
Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, couldn’t disagree more.
“Where there is more concealed carry, there is less crime,” he said. “It’s been studied six ways to Sunday and everyone knows that now.”
Brophy pointed to the shooting at Virginia Tech that left 33 people dead, and to the shooting at New Life Church in Colorado Springs where a security guard, Jeanne Assam, shot and killed a gunman after he opened fire in a shooting that took two lives, as examples of the security concealed weapons can provide when violence erupts unexpectedly.
“While that shooter was on campus illegally possessing a firearm and murdering people, people who could have legally carried there and stopped him, as Jeanne Assam did at the church in Colorado Springs, weren’t allowed to do that,” Brophy said.
“We are safer when people are allowed to carry concealed weapons.”