The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled Thursday in favor of a group seeking to allow students with concealed gun permits to carry their weapons on campus.
Students for Concealed Carry on Campus had argued that a 1994 University of Colorado policy banning concealed weapons violated state gun laws, particularly the Concealed Carry Act of 2003.
The ruling revives a lawsuit that a judge dismissed last year and could affect other Colorado campuses. Colorado State University approved a campus weapons ban similar to CU’s in February.
CU is considering an appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court, university spokesman Ken McConnellogue said.
CSU spokeswoman Michele McKinney said the university also is reviewing the court decision.
SCCC attorney Jim Manley had argued that the Concealed Carry Act prohibits local governments from limiting concealed carry rights. In a statement Thursday, Manley said the appeals court vindicated a constitutional right to bear arms.
CU attorney Patrick O’Rourke argued the act does not apply because CU is not defined in state law as a governing body.
O’Rourke said university regents have a right to create the best environment for learning. Manley said that created questions about the reach of campus authority.
McConnellogue said the decision won’t immediately affect CU campuses but could affect the Board of Regents’ jurisdiction.
“It is worrisome because we feel like the board has the best understanding of the situation on our campuses and has historically been able to make decisions about those matters,” he said.
El Paso County District Judge G. David Miller threw out the case in May 2009, saying he found nothing in the state constitution that would prohibit a campus gun ban.
To obtain a concealed carry permit, applicants must be at least 21 and must undergo an extensive background check.
Many college campuses nationwide ban concealed weapons, but gun-rights advocates say gun-free campuses make students vulnerable to attack. Currently, 26 states ban concealed weapons on any school property. Twenty-three states, including Colorado, allow individual campuses to decide.
Source: Samantha Abernethy for the Denver Post.