A candidate for Larimer County Sheriff said Monday that with its proposal to ban guns on campus, CSU is making students into sheep â€œwaiting to be preyed on by the wolves.â€
As an adjunct professor of sociology at CSU and a major at the Larimer County Sheriffâ€™s Department, Justin Smith said during an on-campus press conference held by the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) that he feels comforted by the fact that students in his classroom are carrying concealed weapons.
Smith has been employed by the sheriffâ€™s department for 18 years and said if a criminal knows â€œthe odds are evenâ€ he or she is less likely to target an area. But, Smith said, by taking away studentsâ€™ right to defend themselves, the university is opening a â€œzone for assailants.â€
The sheriffâ€™s election will be held later this year.
The press conference on the Oval followed a December ruling by the CSU System Board of Governors ordering CSU President Tony Frank and CSU-Pueblo President Joe Garcia to draft a policy prohibiting concealed guns on both campuses. Frank and Garcia will present their respective drafts at the boardâ€™s Feb. 23 meeting.
â€œEvery other campus in the state has a similar weapons policy,â€ CSU spokesperson Brad Bohlander said in a phone interview with the Collegian Monday. The BOG has the authority, granted by a state statute, to implement a ban on both campuses, he said.
Current Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden spoke at the event and while he said he supported the efforts of RMGO, he didnâ€™t think protest would sway the BOG.
â€œCSUâ€™s proposal flies directly in the face of state statute,â€ Alderden said. He outlined statutes requiring CSU, if a ban is put into place, to implement security measures in every public building and offer valid permit holders the option of checking a weapon before entering a building.
â€œCSU assumes the liability of all the people in the building,â€ he said.
Terry Ryan, the attorney for RMGO who also spoke, outlined the lobbyist groupâ€™s plan of action if the BOG approves Frankâ€™s policy in February.
â€œIf the BOG insists on a fight, weâ€™ll bring it,â€ Ryan said, citing the lawsuit RMGO plans to file.
Alexis Bebell, a sophomore natural science major, attended the press conference and said both the U.S. Constitution and Colorado statutes outline the right to carry concealed weapons.
â€œWhy is it CSUâ€™s business?â€ she said. â€œ If youâ€™re doing it right nobody is supposed to know.â€
_Senior Reporter Kirsten Silveira can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. _