Feb 012010
 
Authors: Kirsten Silveira

A candidate for Larimer County Sheriff said Monday that with its proposal to ban guns on campus, CSU is making students into sheep “waiting to be preyed on by the wolves.”

As an adjunct professor of sociology at CSU and a major at the Larimer County Sheriff’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 sheriff’s department for 18 years and said if a criminal knows “the odds are even” he or she is less likely to target an area. But, Smith said, by taking away students’ right to defend themselves, the university is opening a “zone for assailants.”

The sheriff’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 board’s Feb. 23 meeting.

“Every other campus in the state has a similar weapons policy,” 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 didn’t think protest would sway the BOG.

“CSU’s proposal flies directly in the face of state statute,” 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.

“CSU assumes the liability of all the people in the building,” he said.

Terry Ryan, the attorney for RMGO who also spoke, outlined the lobbyist group’s plan of action if the BOG approves Frank’s policy in February.

“If the BOG insists on a fight, we’ll bring it,” 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.

“Why is it CSU’s business?” she said. “ If you’re doing it right nobody is supposed to know.”

_Senior Reporter Kirsten Silveira can be reached at news@collegian.com. _

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