Supreme Court decisions in 2008 and 2010 established without a doubt that a citizen’s right to own a gun is protected by the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
For Coloradans, though, owning a firearm for self defense is also protected by Article II, Section 13 of Colorado’s Constitution, which reads: “That the right of no person to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall be called in question.”
Interestingly, however, our state constitution continues on to say, “but nothing herein contained, shall be construed to justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons.”
The issue of concealed weapons, at the time of our state constitution’s framing, was left to various local authorities — which invariably led to inconsistencies in the enforcement of concealed carries throughout the state.
To solve these inconsistencies, the Colorado State Legislature passed the Concealed Carry Act (CCA) in 2003.
The act states that a person with a permit may carry a concealed weapon “in all areas of the state,” except those areas explicitly included in the language of the act.
Exceptions to the CCA include government buildings with fixed security checkpoints and schools K-12.
The Colorado State Legislature created this legislature “since the issuance of a concealed handgun permit is based on a person’s constitutional right of self-protection and there is a prevailing state interest in ensuring that no citizen is arbitrarily denied a concealed handgun permit.”
The University of Colorado (CU), however, has had a gun ban in place on its campus for more than 40 years — which stands in direct contradiction to the CCA.
The organization Students for Concealed Carry brought a suit against the University of Colorado for its prohibition of legally concealed guns on campus.
On March 5 the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that the regents of CU had indeed overstepped their authority and were operating above the state law allowing concealed firearms.
The assertion that a state university has the right to arbitrarily prevent law-abiding citizens from obtaining and carrying concealed firearms with a permit on campus stands in direct contradiction to Colorado statute, the Colorado Supreme Court found.
The regulation of firearms is a power that resides with the state’s legislative body, not the administration of the school.
Even if CSU did have the authority to obstruct a citizen’s right to self-defense through the use of concealed carry, CSU should never seek to impose those restrictions.
As one of the few campuses in the United States that allows the concealed carry of firearms, we are a shining example to the rest of the country that the fallacious notion that allowing concealed carry increases violence, deaths and gun accidents on campus is absolutely incorrect.
CSU can hardly be said to have a violence or gun problem. Our campus is just as safe or safer than every other university in the country — even while allowing concealed carry.
Nothing has shown that allowing concealed carry will make campuses more dangerous, and Colorado State University is real-world proof of this.
Does concealed carry make us safer as a whole? I wouldn’t say that concealed carry will help prevent school shootings, but it in no way will increase the likelihood of school shootings.
No school shooter committed their horrid acts under the guise of a concealed carry permit.
Banning concealed carry will do nothing to prevent sociopaths from walking onto campus armed to the teeth in the future.
In essence, all banning concealed carry would do is take weapons out of the hands of law abiding citizens rather than criminals.
This fact is magnified given that CSU has a large number of veterans that attend our university everyday.
These men and women have fought overseas to protect our freedoms. I, for one, am unwilling to obstruct our veterans’ right to self-defense on our campus — especially since arguments against concealed carry are often nothing more than a series of hypothetical fears.
The squeamishness of a few individuals regarding firearms is not enough to arbitrarily deny a law abiding Colorado citizen the right to self-defense through concealed carry — as recently affirmed by the Colorado Supreme Court.
There is neither a clear nor urgent need to ban concealed carry from CSU. Why then, would we ever wish to circumvent the edict of our great state?
Editorial Editor Kevin Jensen is a senior English major. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kevinrjensen.
To read more about gun control, and the opinions of other CSU students click here.