Gun ban in college buildings?: Boulder rep plans legislation despite court ruling

Categories: Crime, News

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It just doesn't make sense for lawmakers to allow guns on college campuses, where the risks of suicide or shootings tied to mental health illness can be high. At least that's an argument of Boulder Representative Claire Levy, who is crafting legislation that would add campus buildings to the list of places where concealed-carry weapons are banned in Colorado.

Her opponents say the law would only make colleges more dangerous.

Levy, a Democrat, plans to introduce the legislation next cycle, which begins in January -- and the proposal is likely to stir up a good deal of controversy. That's in part because of the ongoing debate around access to guns on campus that stems back to a Colorado Supreme Court ruling in the spring.

After a long battle led by a student gun-rights group to allow those with concealed-carry permits to bring guns on to campuses, the court ordered the University of Colorado to respect the rights of permitted gun-holders. That meant university officials had to allow guns on campus -- just two years after it had banned Nerf guns.

The debate continued as CU-Boulder later made it clear that guns were not allowed in dormitories or at ticketed events -- although there is an on-campus-housing option for concealed carry holders. (No one has used it yet.) And even if professors are uncomfortable with their students bringing guns to their classrooms, there's not much they can legally do about it.

Add the high-profile Aurora theater shooting to the discussion and the debate around gun policy in Colorado is one that gets people, well, fired up.

Levy is expecting push-back to her proposal.

"I anticipate that it will be very controversial. I would be surprised if I get bipartisan support," she says. "I always look for that. I'm not going to rule it out, but I'm not gonna count on it, either."

CO Representative Claire Levy.jpeg
Representative Claire Levy
Levy's legislation would amend the Concealed Carry Act to add buildings on public college campuses to the list of places where guns are not allowed. The Colorado Supreme Court ruling that university officials must allow guns on campuses was essentially a clarification of that law's scope, but Levy's proposal would change the measure to include campus buildings.

Levy says she'll be careful to specify campus buildings and not campuses on the whole, since some of Colorado's public campuses are integrated into the surrounding environments.

Originally, Levy was exploring options for a proposal that would give the Board of Regents, the governing boards of the university, the authority to set their own policies around guns -- meaning they could ban concealed-carry weapons in their buildings if they wanted to, but they wouldn't be required to do so.

But she eventually decided that it made more sense to propose a flat-out ban, so boards charged with campus oversight and policy would not have to carry the burden of these debates.

"I don't want the gun issue to overshadow the decisions that the governing bodies have to make -- setting tuition...about college affordability...about education policy," Levy says. "Given how these [gun issues] tend to be lightening rods...they really have the potential to overshadow what they do."

Levy also decided it made more sense to directly address her major concern: Guns on campuses add unnecessary danger, she believes.

"More importantly, the more I thought about it, and the more I talked about it with students, parents and faculty members, I think we should not allow concealed weapons on campus," she says. "I thought we ought to go straight to the issue and deal with it head-on."

Her case may have been bolstered by an incident last month in which a University of Colorado staffer accidentally fired a shot in an office, causing minor injuries to herself and a colleague. The staffer had a concealed-carry permit.

"It's just one more of many circumstances that convinced me that it's the right thing to do," says Levy.

Continue to see comments from Students for Concealed Carry and a CU official.

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Chad Kautzer
Chad Kautzer

Careful, NRA-backed groups will flood this site with ridiculous "guns don't kill people..." responses, or say that we all need to be armed to take down, hollywood-style, a mass-shooter. The majority of the professors, staff and students don't want concealed carry on campus. Regulating guns on campus doesn't not violate the 2nd Amendment (see Columbia v. Heller), and legislators, hospitals, K-12, etc. all ban firearms. CU should as well. It's called harm reduction and it doesn't violate anyone's rights.

Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

What a twit! If you want a massacre, make sure the people who obey laws are disarmed. You people hadn't yet figured out that's why so many of the big massacres are at schools? Buy a brain, or rent one!


Why do people become addicted to blaming guns? When faculty crash cars, Universities don't contemplate banning licensed drivers from driving. When students overdose on Oxy, Universities don't contemplate banning prescribed medicine. When planes hit the Trade Centers, no one contemplated banning licensed pilots from flying planes, well ok, maybe they did for a few days.  Anti-Marijuana laws didn't stop people from using/selling marijuana. Banning things do not remove them from society, nor does it prevent anything, It's just a response to fear, and creates a false sense of security with the illusion of control. Freedom is a bitch, learn to respect it, prejudice is not productive.

David Barton
David Barton

Well, geez. Everyone at CU knows that you need a gun to defend yourself against deadly brownie assaults.


I can't believe the question is even coming up. Ban guns in college buildings?! WTF?

DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Monkey "When faculty crash cars, Universities don't contemplate banning licensed drivers from driving."

Yet drivers are required by law to obtain government issued LICENSES ... and their cars are required by law to be REGISTERED ... and they are required to carry minimum LIABILITY Insurance for each and every vehicle ...

If you gun loons insist on using Automobiles as an lame analogy to guns, then perhaps it's time to Regulate Guns LIKE Automobiles.

Remember -- Regulation Works !!

BackOffImStarving topcommenter

@Monkey  So you can say, with 100% certainty, that nobody would get caught in the crossfire if there was one gunman on one side of a packed lecture hall and 10+ people carrying concealed scattered throughout?  Are you 100% sure you could hit a target with one shot in the midst of the panic and chaos?  Could you, with 100% certainty and in a fraction of a second, make the distinction between an intruder/gunman and a fellow student with a CCW standing in their general vicinity?  How many students would you be willing to sacrifice?  As many as it takes or until your mag and backup are empty?  Let God sort 'em out?  Don't get me wrong.  I like guns.  I own a couple.  I don't, however, take them to classrooms or crowded places... ever.  I don't think I would even if I applied for a CCW, which I have seriously considered in the past.  What made me think differently was a radio interview (maybe AM760 or KOA850) shortly after the Aurora incident.  An individual, I believe a military firearms instructor, said that a dozen people (even trained carriers) fanning bullets over a crowded, dark theater at a single shooter, could have made things a lot worse.  Just because our freedoms are guaranteed does not mean they don't have negative consequences.  I agree that a gunman would probably be less likely to attack others if the others were likely to be carrying, however that won't stop some adrenaline-filled loon in body armor.  


@BackOffImStarving  Freedom is full of positive and negative consequences. Adrenaline-filled loons sometimes abuse their freedom, but that is no reason to suppress freedom itself. Defending yourself is not firing wildly at a distant target through a crowded room, most responsible gun carriers would not do that, licensed or not. Sometimes a loon shooting people and wearing body armor is better taken down by a kick to the leg and a fist to the face by someone close, instead of another gun. The right to possess a gun does not give anyone the right to irresponsibly use it, nor does it prevent people who possess guns to use other means of protection. Many people carry knives, but they don't all throw them across the room and hope they hit the bad guy.

Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@BackOffImStarving @Monkey The answer is "no." What we can say with 100%% certainty is that if someone takes a gun into a place where it's illegal to carry, that person will be able to shoot several people before someone can do much of anything about it. There's certainty for you.

By disarming the victims, you do that, and you also make it impossible for someone to carry concealed TO the building, because they cannot do anything with it when they get there. Many women feel safer armed on campus late at night between the car and the building, and to disarm them is itself criminal.

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