University of Colorado students file lawsuit To challenge CU'S gun free zone
Two University of Colorado students and one CU alumnus, represented by Mountain States Legal Foundation, have filed a lawsuit challenging the University of Colorado's ban on licensed concealed carry in El Paso County District Court today asking the court to strike down CU's ban on licensed concealed carry on campus.
Martha Altman, CU-Denver, Eric Mote, CU-Colorado Springs alumnus, and John Davis, CU-Colorado Springs, plaintiffs in the suit, are members of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, also a party to the suit. Students for Concealed Carry on Campus is a national advocacy group with over 35,000 members nationally and over 200 members on CU's Colorado Springs, Denver, and Boulder campuses. SCCC supports the legalization of concealed carry by licensed individuals on college campuses.
"Gun-free zones have failed," said Michael Guzman, SCCC President. "SCCC does not want a gun in every student's or professor's hands, but it is absurd that someone can legally carry on one side of the street but not the other. A total ban on licensed concealed carry does not improve safety and we have seen that such policies can lead to tragedy."
The suit is based on the fact that the 2003 Concealed Carry Act gives licensed adults over the age of 21 the right to carry everywhere in the state and prohibits local regulations that conflict with the Act. The Act includes only four exceptions to the right to carry: locations prohibited by federal law; K-12 schools; public buildings with metal detectors; and private property. C.R.S. § 18-12-214. Significantly absent from that list of exceptions: university campuses. Moreover, the CU Regents are among those local governments prohibited from enforcing regulations that conflict with the Act.
The suit also alleges that CU's weapons ban is so broad that it violates the Colorado Constitution, which protects the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.
"The right to keep and bear arms is an essential component of individual liberty," said William Perry Pendley, President and Chief Legal Officer of Mountain States Legal Foundation. "No law-abiding adult should be denied the ability to protect herself, either on or off campus."
Concealed handgun permit holders must be over the age of 21 and undergo an extensive background check confirming that they have no history of substance abuse or criminal activity, are not subject to a protection order, and have demonstrated competency with a handgun. Statistics show that less than 1% of permits have ever been revoked in Colorado (http://www.rmgo.org/faq/CCW%20Permits%20by%20county.pdf).