CU Denver professor starts petition to ban concealed weapons on campus

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Only weeks after the Aurora theater shooting, CU Denver philosophy professor Chad Kautzer has created a petition to stop concealed weapons from being allowed on state campuses. But the two ideas are not connected, he says: Kautzer has been contemplating the response since the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that the 2003 Concealed Carry Act applies to campuses, and he delayed announcing his efforts out of respect for the victims of the shooting and their families.

In early March, the Colorado Supreme Court overturned the University of Colorado's longtime ban on firearms, concluding that the CU Board of Regents had overstepped its boundaries and violated the state's protections. Under the act, anyone 21 or older who has a legal permit may carry a concealed weapon "in all areas of the state" (with a few official exceptions) -- but for almost a decade, the CU Board of Regents continued to enforce its system-wide ban. In 2009, three students launched a suit, which made its way through several judicial layers before reaching the state's highest.

There, the court's final decision divested the board of its power in the issue and expanded the act's providence to include state college campuses. That decision struck Kautzer as alarming, though he agrees it's a correct reading of state law. As he noticed more states moving in the same direction on college campuses, he spent the intervening months discussing his concerns with dozens of students and fellow educators. In order to be successful, Kautzer's efforts would require a change in state legislation.

chad kautzer.jpg
Chad Kautzer.
"A lot of people are very uncomfortable" with allowing guns on campus, "especially because our students are under stress in familial, military, medical, tons of contexts," Kautzer says. Not all of his peers and the student body agree with his stance, and some have spoken out against it, but "many of us don't feel comfortable allowing students to come in with firearms in that context. The general consensus is that firearms on campus do not make people safer, especially given the stressed states that often come with the people there."

Already, Kautzer's petition -- currently at 97 of 100 targeted signatures -- has earned anger and criticism from gun proponents, who argue that allowing firearms on campus protects students from possible danger. The Colorado Springs Gazette ran an editorial condemning Kautzer's effort as a "nonsensical." Others accuse him of not respecting the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and their right to bear arms -- something he calls a "red herring."

"This is a state issue, not a federal one, and all the defenses being made are hypothetical and based on mass shooters," Kautzer says. "'If only we had been there in the theater,' they say. They always think about the other person being the criminal and not situations of road rage or depression or any of those issues where a law-abiding situation with a permit could break."

And the fact cannot be ignored that James Holmes, the central suspect in the Aurora theater shooting, was a student at Kautzer's institution, if not his campus. "I'm not advocating this as if my policy position would stop mass shootings," Kautzer insists. "That's not the case. A lot of people look at this as a solution to mass shootings, and it is not. I have no idea what the solution is to mass shootings. All I know is that a lot of us are uncomfortable with people bringing guns to our campus."

More from our Politics archive: "Aurora theater shooting: Ed Perlmutter and the challenge of talking about gun control."

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27 comments
YourMom
YourMom

You can not stop people from concealed carry. That is the idea, you just don't know who has one. Metal detectors and a guard are ineffective. That dude is the first to get shot. So why put rules in that are impossible to enforce. I have a gun and the training. I already know how I react to getting shot at, ordinance going off, with tear gas. I have been trained to turn off emotions and react. So why would our society try to put in blocks so I can not help. Bad people do not follow rules. One thing I do know is I will continue to ignore weapon rules. There are many like me.

mraufklarung
mraufklarung

Here are a few things to keep in mind: (1) There is no evidence that more guns make environments safer; (2) The Colorado legislators obviously agree with this, since they ban concealed weapons where they work (why aren't gun advocates screaming at them?); (3) Antonin Scalia argued in District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment should not be read “to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings"; and (4) Criminals are not a different species; they are people who break the law. Having a concealed carry permit does not somehow prevent one from breaking the law (unfortunately!)

zman8465
zman8465

Good idea - then only criminals will have guns on campus.

mrgator
mrgator

What an idiot.   I guess facts and evidence don't apply or relate in the area of Philosophy.  Professor, do your homework before you start drivel and nonsense such as this. 

Monkey
Monkey

Just tell the kids the petition is to legalize weed, they will sign it then, you know, like the A64 campaign. It doesn't matter what the petition really says, just tell them that it says no one will ever get shot, and weed is legal if they sign it, both of those topics encourage ignorant people to get on your side. If you just tell them law-abiding citizens who have already passed a criminal background check by the County Sheriff wont be carrying guns, you will never get enough signatures.

ConspiracyExaminer
ConspiracyExaminer

Sure, disarm law abiding citizens so they're all sitting ducks when a criminal who doesn't follow the law wants to shoot them! What morons! Had someone in theater 9 been armed, it would have quite possibly been a totally different outcome! WAKE UP!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Nothing more exciting than a bunch of drunken frat-boy fools packing heat on campus ...

 

... what could possibly go wrong?

.

mraufklarung
mraufklarung

 @YourMom People like you are why these regulations are in place--people who will break the law because they are self-righteous and have some male fantasy about being the hero (regardless of the safety of others). What makes people like you scary is that you admit to breaking the law (or intending to), but don't realize YOU are the criminal, that you are the "bad" person everyone keeps talking about.  As for not even trying to prevent harm, because harm sometimes happens, that's a ridiculous argument. You don't want air traffic controllers because sometimes a plane crashes, or should we get rid of seat belts because some people still die in crashes with them? Nutty.

SPQR
SPQR

 @mraufklarung Concealed carry permits do not prevent people from breaking the law.  However, people who actually go to the trouble of meeting the requirements and obtaining concealed carry permits are very lawabiding.  An astonishing low number of permit holders commit crimes, and an astonishingly low number of permit holders commit violent crimes.  The Brady/VPC group attempted to smear permit holders with a faux "study" of how many homicides they committed, and had to add in suicides to fraudulently pump up the numbers.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

 @mraufklarung Very interesting post, mraufklarung -- one we're going to make an upcoming comment of the day. Congrats.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @zman8465  Jared Loughner, Seung-Hui Cho and James Holmes were "LAW ABIDING GUN OWNERS" ...

 

... right up to the moment they began firing.

 

.

ConspiracyExaminer
ConspiracyExaminer

 @DonkeyHotay Right! LMAO! It's already legal on Colorado campuses and shootings almost NEVER happen...even when they get drunk!

YourMom
YourMom

 @mraufklarung

 You don't get it. Our government trained me this way. It not a fantasy and I have been the hero both in military and civilian capasity already. Not because I want too, but because it is a reaction. You will never understand the mentality of selfless service. Hopefully I save you one day.

mraufklarung
mraufklarung

 @SPQR Why is the VPC study "faux"? You say that they increase their numbers by "fraudulently" including suicides. Since people interested in gun violence/harm reduction are also interested in the lives of concealed carry permit holders, their deaths count too, no? For those who haven't seen the numbers, here's a link: http://www.vpc.org/ccwkillers.htm I'd be interested to hear from SPQR  why this isn't a "real" study.

SPQR
SPQR

 @DonkeyHotay None of whom had concealed weapon permits, so your "point" is false.

zman8465
zman8465

 @ConspiracyExaminer Yep - when I went to CU, we kept our revolvers right in the little drawer in our dorm room desks.  Nothing ever happened.

mraufklarung
mraufklarung

 @YourMom I should add to that response, since it sounds mean. I realize that you're well-intentioned and that you've been intensively trained to think and act in certain ways about violence, guns, and "good" and "bad" guys. And I realize that adjusting to civilian life is difficult after leaving a war zone--I've never done it, but I know many who have and struggle with it. I don't take back my points, but I just wanted to acknowledge the contradictions and difficulties someone like you faces in civilian life, with all of its laws against behavior you were trained to exhibit elsewhere.

mraufklarung
mraufklarung

 @YourMom Of course I get it. Whenever people talk of shooting "bad" people, we know they're military. You're trained to shoot without thinking, you're trained to shoot in a war zone, and you're trained to be the "hero", because anyone in the military is supposed to be the "hero". These are all problematic in civilian life. This is not a war zone, bad people are not whoever you decide to shoot (as the military drills into your head in an Orwellian way), and you are not a hero waiting to happen. You admit to breaking laws because you're self-righteous. You are the threat. You are the problem. And if you think you're being "selfless" because you're sacrificing for others, let me tell you something: we don't want it. Give up your hero complex and realize that you're not above the law. Until you do, you're the criminal all these other guys keep warning us about.

SPQR
SPQR

 @DonkeyHotay Open Carry laws are not preempted state wide, so you do not evidently understand Colorado law.

mraufklarung
mraufklarung

 @zman8465 Then you were in violation of CU policy. For the last 42 years there has been a firearm ban on campus, which means ConspiracyExaminer is also talking nonsense.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @SPQR 

 

Colorado is an "Open Carry" state ... no CCW needed ... as in the case of James Holmes legally carrying his rifle, shotgun and holstered pistols into the movie theater.

 

 

SPQR
SPQR

 @DonkeyHotay The Virginia Tech shooter did not have a concealed weapons permit, so how's that false "rebuttal" working out?

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