Concealed-carry at Colo. colleges may be on ballot
State approves proposal to ask if hidden weapons should be banned
Colorado voters may get a chance to decide if they want to ban concealed-carry weapons on the state’s college campuses this fall.
Though some colleges and universities in the state already restrict or ban weapons, whether they’re concealed or not, a proposed ballot question that won approval by the Colorado Title Board on Thursday would ensure that no campus allows concealed weapons.
“Concealed handguns on college campuses threaten the safety and peace of mind of parents, students and staff, and we don’t want our state to become known for any more tragic mass shootings,” said Ken Toltz, founder of Safe Campus Colorado, a newly formed group proposing the measure. “This initiative gives Coloradans an opportunity to have their voices heard on keeping concealed handguns off our great colleges and universities. All schools should be safe places to learn and work, free of the threat posed by concealed guns.”
The issue of concealed weapons became an issue in 2008 when three University of Colorado students sued to have that university’s conceal-carry ban repealed, which led to a 2012 Colorado Supreme Court opinion striking down such bans, saying CU’s policy violated state laws that allow for concealed weapons as long as a gun owner had a license to do so.
As a result, Colorado is only one of two states — Utah is the other — that has no legal restrictions on concealed guns on college campuses.
Some colleges in the state, including Colorado Mesa University, have rules that allow for concealed-carry on campus, but bans them in residence halls and prohibits employees from carrying weapons unless they have explicit permission to do so.
Since the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech University, numerous states have approved laws banning concealed-carry on campuses and several others allow colleges to make that decision themselves. Currently, 22 states ban the practice, while 22 others allow universities to decide the issue, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures.
Six other states, including Colorado and Utah, have court-imposed precedents that allow for concealed-carry on campuses under certain circumstances.
During last year’s Colorado legislative session, lawmakers considered but later withdrew a measure to ban conceal-carry on campus. It was one of several controversial measures approved in the Democratic-controlled Legislature, including a measure to limit gun magazines to 15 rounds or less.
As a result, there are three other proposed constitutional amendments for this year’s ballot that would repeal that law. Like the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the Colorado Constitution guarantees the right to “keep and bear arms.” The state’s constitution, however, also says that right does not “justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons.”
The group supporting a ban said the time is right to ask voters about the issue, claiming that polls show a majority of voters support the idea.