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Colorado Supreme Court Considers Concealed Carry Permits For Weapons On CU Campus

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CONCEALED CARRY PERMIT CU
Brent Tenney displays his Glock 9mm semi-automatic handgun on the University of Utah campus where he is a student Wednesday, April 25, 2007, in Salt Lake City. "It's not that I run around scared all day long, but if something happens to me I do want to be prepared," said Tenney, who has a concealed weapons permit and carries the gun everywhere but church. Utah has the nation's only state law that expressly allows the carrying of concealed weapons at public colleges. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac) | AP File Photo

The Colorado Supreme Court today is hearing arguments for whether or not the University of Colorado will allow concealed permit weapons on campus.

Last June the University's Board of Regents voted 5-4 to file an appeal to keep the campus' imposed gun ban in order to overturn a Colorado Court of Appeals ruling that concluded CU violated state law, which allows concealed carry with a permit.

Colorado's concealed handguns laws state, in part:

[From Part 1 of the Legislative Declaration]:

(a) There exists a widespread inconsistency among jurisdictions within the state with regard to the issuance of permits to carry concealed handguns and identification of areas of the state where it is lawful to carry concealed handguns;

(b) This inconsistency among jurisdictions creates public uncertainty regarding the areas of the state in which it is lawful to carry concealed handguns;

(d) The criteria and procedures for the lawful carrying of concealed handguns historically has been regulated by state statute and should be consistent throughout the state to ensure the consistent implementation of state law

[From Part 2 of the Legislative Declaration]:

(b) It is necessary to provide statewide uniform standards for issuing permits to carry concealed handguns for self-defense.

According to the now-extinct CU faculty paper, The Silver and Gold Record, two CU students, a CU alum and a national Texas-based organization called the Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC) filed the orginal lawsuit December 11, 2008 in El Paso County District Court. The lawsuit sought only to overturn the gun ban, and was taken up pro bono by Jim Manley from the Mountain States Legal Foundation.

When the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that CU's gun ban was unconstitutional because the Concealed Carry Act of 2003 says local regulations must be consistent with state laws, the State Supreme Court accepted the Regent's appeal.

As it stands, Colorado's Concealed Carry Act requires an extensive background check, must be over the age of 21, and the Sheriff may revoke or deny a permit if they have reason to believe the permit holder is a danger. There are only four exceptions to the right to carry a concealed weapon: those prohibited by federal law, K-12 schools, public buildings with metal detectors, and private property.

With respect to schools, the law only says:

(3) A permit issued pursuant to this part 2 does not authorize a person to carry a concealed handgun onto the real property, or into any improvements erected thereon, of a public elementary, middle, junior high, or high school; except that:

(a) A permittee may have a handgun on the real property of the public school so long as the handgun remains in his or her vehicle and, if the permittee is not in the vehicle, the handgun is in a compartment within the vehicle and the vehicle is locked;

Excepting law enforcement, CU has banned concealed weapons on campus since 1994, and maintains its double argument that is has the authority to regulate the university where, it says, guns have no right to be.

Official spokesman for CU Ken McConnellogue told 7News:

We believe they're [the Regents] the ones closest to what the needs are of the campus, what the learning environment ought to be.

Since the Colorado Court of Appeals ruling however, community colleges in Colorado and Colorado State University, have modified their bans to allow concealed carry weapons on campus.

From a press release by Students for Concealed Carry on Campus spokesman David Burnett:

We’ve already seen that concealed carry works on campus. It doesn’t harm anyone, and if criminals don’t know who could fight back, it makes them think twice about attacking anyone on campus. It’s unfortunate that the change required a legal threat, but we know it’s the right move and we’re glad CSU backed down from their imprudent decision.

Tom Mauser, of Colorado Ceasefire and the father of Daniel Mauser, a victim of the 1999 Columbine High School shootings told the Silver and Gold Record in 2008--when the lawsuit agains the university was filed--that he agrees with the university.

"Our college campuses should be safe havens. If having more guns in an area made us safer we should be the safest nation in the world, and we're clearly not."