If the CSU System Board of Governors sticks by its decision to ban concealed carry on campus, members could find themselves making their case in front of a judge.
In response to the BOG’s decision to eliminate concealed carry on campus, nine state lawmakers have joined student government to battle the ban, which they say is a dangerous move that goes against the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
And the battle could involve legal action.
CSU is one of the only campuses in the state that allows concealed carry, but come February, the BOG will dictate that it will join the ranks of most other universities that forbid it.
Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, drafted a letter, which is now endorsed by seven senators and two representatives, citing a Colorado law that makes the issue of concealed carry “a matter of statewide concern,” and outlines specific rules for public facilities that have placed a ban. These rules include:
permanent screening must be in place,
everyone must be screened, and
security personnel must hold the weapons of permit holders while said they are in the restricted building.
The statute books, Brophy said, can have varying interpretations and said if the BOG finds a loophole in the current rule, he is prepared to address that.
“I might be inclined to change those statutes,” Brophy said, adding that “it might be more appropriate to take them to court.”
Rep. John Kefalas, D-Fort Collins, has yet to see the letter drafted by Brophy, and said he needs more information stating the pros and cons of concealed carry before he can take an official stance.
Kefalas said he is supportive of an “open dialogue” between the students and the administration, and if the students base advocacy on facts, they will have a voice in front of the BOG.
Tim Campbell, the student coordinator for the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, a local gun advocacy group, organized a petition for three days last week to keep concealed carry, which he said garnered more than 1,200 student signatures.
Campbell plans to present the finding to Frank after winter break, after which he will likely continue the petition.
But a BOG official said the board was attentive to student opinion but believes this was a “reasonable and responsible step” in risk management.
“They’re listening, but they understand there will be differing opinions on this matter,” said Michelle McKinney, the BOG’s chief spokesperson.
In the Associated Students of CSU’s weekly Senate meeting on Nov. 11, Frank asked the body to take an official stance on concealed carry. The organization passed a resolution recommending the maintenance of the current weapons policy.
But despite the overwhelming 21-3 vote from student leaders that Frank said carried much weight, the BOG passed its own decision that eliminating concealed carry from CSU was in the best interest of the students. Frank and Pueblo President Joe Garcia have been given a February deadline to draft policies banning guns from campus.
In light of the BOG’s motion, Brophy said, he will oppose any decision to reappoint board members who support the ban. Members up for reappointment from Gov. Bill Ritter at the end of December are voting members Douglas Jones and Patrick Grant, and Vice Chair Ed Haselden.
Senior Reporter Kirsten Silveira can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.