By now you might know that the University of Colorado has decided to comply with a state supreme court ruling saying that it cannot ban permit-carrying students from having guns on campus. But in complying, the university has created a separate controversy: It has decided to segregate those students with concealed carry permits. Now, if a student has a permit and is living on campus, that student will have to live in separate dorms off campus.
While students are now permitted to carry legal guns in campus buildings, certain restrictions apply. For example, large ticketed events such as football games will still be off limits for gun-carriers.
And while protection advocates believe the law is a step in the right direction, not everyone is happy -- especially because it seems to fly in the face of the logic that legal gun carriers sprinkled throughout a campus at all times actually helps prevent violence.
A scathing editorial in the Colorado Springs Gazette lays out that argument [emphasis added]:
Nearly all modern massacres have occurred in “gun-free” zones. It is likely that gun-free zones attract homicidal maniacs, who want the highest death tolls possible before they are stopped. If guns aren’t allowed, no one is likely to shoot back. It is hard to imagine that mere coincidence explains the common thread of “gun-free” rules at massacre locations, such as Columbine High School, Aurora’s Century 16 Theater and Virginia Tech. It seems like common sense that “no gun” signs ensure predators of soft, defenseless targets.
Given these observations, tt is beyond belief that members of the Colorado Board of Regents have indulged a publicity stunt that establishes new “gun-free” zones on college campuses. Their actions could get students killed.
Colorado law allows only law-abiding adults age 21 and up to obtain concealed carry permits. Almost no one living in a freshman dorm is over the age of 21. In the unlikely event a full-fledged adult with a concealed carry permit lives in a freshman dorm, his or her presence enhances safety. Concealed carry permittees are trained and screened. The new rule is a policy in search of a problem, and it ensures criminals of new defenseless targets.
Regents and administrators have managed only to promise all predators that freshman dorms are defenseless, gun-free zones. Their new rule will almost certainly result in “no gun” signs on dormitory doors.
We concur, but take strong objection to the needless and self-indulgent endangerment of freshmen in dorms. That new rule is dangerous, unconscionable and probably illegal.
A Denver Post editorial, however, takes a different approach [emphasis added]:
We doubt that the plan goes far enough for gun-rights owners, however, and won't be surprised if the issue returns to the courts.
The new policy springs from a Colorado Supreme Court ruling in March that upheld a lower-court ruling striking down a total gun ban on University of Colorado campuses.
The suit was filed by students who held concealed-carry permits and were denied permission to bring weapons on campus.
The students argued that the legislature did not include colleges on the list of institutions in which the Concealed Carry Act could be "specifically limited."
And they were right.
That should change.
The university's Board of Regents should be allowed to determine the gun rules on campus — including whether a total ban is in order. It's the same authority currently given to those bodies that oversee county courthouses and K-12 schools.
As we said in March, such a revision would put this important school safety decision where it belongs — with those who are intimately familiar with the school, its culture and student mix.
Now that you've read separate views on the issue, take our poll below and let us know what you think: