Colorado’s ‘Guns in the Classroom’ Decision Trigger Debate

August 24th, 2012 - by admin

Kirk Siegler / KUNC-FM & Mike Piccione / The Daily Caller & Terry Meng / Huffington Post – 2012-08-24 00:25:45

University of Colorado To Students:
No Guns In Dorms, Please

Kirk Siegler / North Country News & All Things Considered / KUNC-FM

BOULDER (August 23, 2012) — The University of Colorado, Boulder, is now allowing students with concealed carry permits to carry handguns in almost all campus areas. The policy follows a state Supreme Court ruling that overturned a university ban on all handguns on campus.

Freshmen chatter anxiously as they stream out of their dorms for orientation at the University of Colorado in Boulder this week. There’s a buzz and energy around campus that you might expect this time of year.

But Deb Coffin, vice chancellor for student affairs, says one thing is different: “It is legal now to bring your concealed carry weapon with you, as long as you’re a permit holder and keep it concealed.”

The school has reluctantly complied with the state Supreme Court ruling in March that overturned a campus ban on all firearms. In Colorado, you must be 21 to be eligible for a concealed carry permit. But now, if students have one, they can bring their guns to class, the bookstore, the quad — almost anywhere on the stately campus.

There are some restrictions, however. According to the school’s new policy, guns are still banned from sporting events and dorms. All but a tiny fraction of students in campus dorms are freshman and under 21 anyway, Coffin says, and most are just leaving the nest for the first time.

“We’re actually more concerned about someone who’s not experienced or trained in the use of a handgun getting access to one by accident or on purpose,” she says, “and possibly causing injury to themselves or others.”

‘A Policy In Search Of A Problem’
The university would prefer that students with concealed carry permits not bring their guns into on-campus housing at all. But, if students insist, school policy requires them to move to a graduate student housing complex at the far north end of campus.

“CU’s policy, particularly as it applies to the dorms, is a policy in search of a problem,” says Jim Manley, the attorney who represented the students who challenged the university’s gun ban back in 2008. Manley wonders whether the new compliance plan would apply to parents with concealed weapons visiting their children’s dorm rooms.

Either way, Manley believes bans like these don’t work.

“The Aurora theater where the Batman shooting occurred also had a gun-free policy,” Manley says. “But these policies don’t disarm criminals, they disarm law-abiding citizens who see the sign and respect the law and say, ‘I’m not going to carry in this place because the law doesn’t allow it.'”

Manley says students with concealed carry permits should have the right to protect themselves on campus if another mass shooting occurs. His clients brought their suit after the state passed a concealed carry law trumping local bans, but also in response to the Virginia Tech shootings.

No Requests Yet
Joe Ramsburger, an incoming freshman from Florida, is unloading an SUV in front of Farrand Hall. He can understand why guns won’t be allowed in his new dorm, but he says he can see both sides.

“Especially with what happened in Aurora a couple of weeks ago, and Virginia Tech, and all of the stuff that’s happened on college campuses now,” Ramsburger says. “You never know what’s going to happen.”

Most major universities still do not allow guns on campuses under any circumstances. That is just fine with Cindy Rosenthal of Scottsdale, Ariz., who was on campus this week helping her freshman daughter move in.

“Yeah, it makes me very uncomfortable, sure,” Rosenthal says. “I definitely would not feel safe if they allowed guns on campus, in the halls. I would not be comfortable with that at all.”

This is the first Rosenthal has heard that concealed weapons are now allowed on most of the campus. And it’s not yet clear how many students at this university, known for its liberal politics, will be affected by the new policy. School officials say they have not yet received any requests from concealed-carry permit holders who want to bring guns to their dorms.

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Professor Defies Campus Concealed Carry Laws with Threat to Cancel Class
Mike Piccione / The Daily Caller?

(August 22, 2012) — The University of Colorado is now allowing concealed carry in accordance with state law on its campuses and one professor is taking a stand against this policy. The website is reporting that Professor Jerry Peterson will cancel his classes if anyone who is carrying a firearm (legally) to his class. “That’s what I will do,” Professor Jerry Peterson, who teaches physics at UC Boulder, told Campus Reform in the interview with Campus Reform on Tuesday.

The University of Colorado has indicated to Prof. Peterson that he would be in violation of state law if he attempted to ban students who complied with state CCP (concealed carry permit) laws.

The controversy regarding CCP holders attending class at the University of Colorado stems from a lawsuit by Students for Concealed Carry on Campus v. The Regents of the University of Colorado. The outcome of the suit enables CCP holders to carry concealed firearms on campus.

The University of Colorado states on its website “The approach would only affect, potentially, a very small number of individuals. An analysis by the University of Colorado shows that 0.6 percent of the faculty, staff and students on campus possess a CCP.”

David Burnett, spokesman for Students for Concealed Carry told the Daily Caller, “It’s concerning that a member of CU-Boulder’s respected faculty would display such a personal and professional contempt for the law.

The issue has been resolved in the Colorado Supreme Court; tenure doesn’t give anyone the right to rule otherwise. For the most part, we’re pleased with the conduct of the college itself, but the lack of maturity or professionalism on the part of a few is disturbing.”

Tim Schmidt, President of the United States Concealed Carry Association, when asked to respond to the Campus Reform article says, “It appears that Professor Peterson has an irrational fear of firearms.

As many people understand, a firearm is simply a tool. It is a tool for self-defense. The firearm on its own is no more dangerous than a knife or club sitting on a table. Like the knife or club, the firearm needs a human to operate it. So unless Mr. Peterson thinks his students are deranged killers, he has nothing to fear.”

Colorado does not give CCP’s away to anyone. The University of Colorado states on its website “Among the requirements for Colorado concealed carry permits are that the holder must be at least 21 years of age, complete an FBI background check, and have either previous military or police experience or proof of completion of a firearms training course.”

Proponents against concealed carry on college campuses argue that more guns will cause more shootings and those CCP students are not responsible enough to keep and bear arms. Arguments for concealed carry on campus defend their decision to carry concealed and the need for personal protection does not end at the campus property line.

Professor Peterson has not responded to emails from the Daily Caller regarding his position at the time this article was written.

Article printed from The Daily Caller:
Copyright 2009 Daily Caller. All rights reserved.

Boycott Colorado Over University Gun Policy
Terry Meng / Huffington Post

LOS ANGELES (August 21, 2012) — Students at the University of Colorado will be moving into their dorms and apartments this week, awaiting next week’s start of the new school year. In addition to meeting their new roommates, registering for classes and signing up for extra-curricular activities, students will now have something else to deal with: Guns in campus housing.

As a proud graduate of the University of Colorado-Boulder, I am appalled by the state law that allows students to keep and carry weapons in some campus housing. I urge other CU alums to withhold financial contributions to the University so long as the law allowing this dangerous practice remains in place.

Further, as the mother of two teenage daughters who will be soon applying to college, my husband and I will not allow them to apply to CU so long as it continues this policy.

If enough CU alums and prospective parents (both Colorado and out-of-state residents) let University officials and state legislators know how they feel, it could pressure them to change this life-threatening policy.

After completing CU as an undergraduate, I went to graduate school and became a nurse practitioner, a profession I love and have been practicing for more than 20 years. I regularly see patients — children and families — hurt by senseless violence. The proliferation of handguns and other assault weapons is a serious public health hazard. The CU policy exacerbates this hazard by allowing students to carry concealed firearms on campus.

CU has a long, well-deserved, and unfortunate reputation as a “party school.” It may or may not be much worse than many other universities and colleges, but it is well-known that CU students consume a considerable amount of alcohol, particularly on weekends.

Now the deadly combination of alcohol and guns will inevitably result in accidents, injuries and perhaps deaths, no matter how careful the university promises to oversee or punish students (and, of course, their many visitors) who violate the rules.

According to the new policy, students with permits can stay in regular dorms, but can’t keep their guns there. Students in what some are already calling the “gun dorms” will be required to put their weapons in safes in their dwellings when not carrying them.

The fact that the University is segregating students with gun permits in separate living quarters is no consolation. If anything, it may make matters worse, by concentrating the gun owners — who are more likely to drink unsafely, too — in the same living spaces.

Implementing this policy will be a nightmare and certain to be regularly violated, no matter how well-intentioned campus safety and housing officials are.

Nor am I persuaded that CU’s stated policy of prohibiting students with guns to attend ticketed athletic and cultural events will avoid violent gun-related incidents that will lead to injuries and deaths. Now that the University has sanctioned having guns in campus housing, the entire atmosphere changes.

Even if CU had a sufficient number of well-trained and well-equipped campus police officers, they will not be able to stop every gun-concealing student from entering an athletic event, lecture or concert, much less every classroom.

Press reports indicate that, according to University officials, less than one percent of students at the CU campus at Boulder (which has about 26,000 students) and Colorado Springs (with about 10,000 students) have a concealed-carry permit.

Am I supposed to be relieved that as many as 260 and 100 students will be armed on those respective campuses? How many gun-toting students does it take to create havoc on campus?

I recognize that University officials are implementing this policy reluctantly. The Colorado legislature passed a law that allows those who are 21 or older, and who possess a concealed-carry permit, to carry a gun on campus. The state Board of Regents had voted to ban guns on campus, which the state Supreme Court over-ruled last March.

The real problem is the gun lobby, particularly the National Rifle Association, its right-wing legal allies (such Mountain States Legal Foundation, which argued in court against the original CU ban), Students for Concealed Carry (a gun rights front group) and the Colorado state legislators, who bend to the will of the gun lobby rather than make common sense policy decisions that protect public safety and human lives.

After the mass murders by students at Columbine High School in 1999, by a suspected University of Colorado student at an Aurora movie theater last month, and other incidents in between, aren’t Coloradans fed up with gun violence?

If they are not angry enough to push the state legislature to change its concealed weapon law, then perhaps other strategies are needed.

When other states have implemented outrageous policies — around immigration, abortion or flying the Confederate flag — national organizations have sponsored boycotts, cancelled conventions and other meetings, and encouraged Americans to avoid those states when making vacation plans. Perhaps a similar travel boycott of the entire state of Colorado is needed to force the state legislators to come to their senses.

Terry Meng is a nurse practitioner who lives in the Los Angeles area.

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