CU Board of Regents statewide candidates both support new legislation to allow the university to again ban guns on campus

Despite a long, hard-fought court battle to secure the same rights for Colorado citizens at the University of Colorado applying elsewhere in the state (under state law and the Colorado Constitution) to lawfully carry concealed weapons for personal protection, the University of Colorado administration and the CU Board of Regents have sought to end-run and undermine the recent Colorado Supreme Court ruling striking down CU’s comprehensive campus gun ban. Recently, the University of Colorado revised its formerly comprehensive gun ban policies to more restricted in scope, but still legally suspect, policies imposing a gun ban in student housing and at ticketed campus events (policies that are likely to draw an additional, and costly, legal challenge – and, as noted in a previous guest commentary on this site (CU Regents Unwise to Consider Residence Hall Gun Ban,

The courts do tend to take a dim view of those who try to squash fundamental rights.

For that reason, this year’s elections to the CU Board of Regents hold more than casual interest to those concerned about constitutional and statutory rights to “keep and bear arms.” Unfortunately, on the gun rights issue, both candidates for the single statewide (“at-large”) CU Regent seat appear to share similar anti- gun rights views. Appearing together on the 9News “Your Show” television program Sunday morning (23 Sept 2012), both candidates were asked about their views on the recent Colorado Supreme Court ruling striking down the CU Gun Ban, and more generally about the issue of concealed carry on campus.

“Should the CU Board of Regents accept the ruling and allow for those over 21 with a license to carry or should they continue trying to work around it?” (question submitted by Kris West) “What is your position on concealed carry on campus? Do you agree with proposed legislative attempts to outlaw the right in the face of the Colorado Supreme Court decision that the university has no power to do so?” (question submitted by Joe Mierzwa)

Democrat CU Board of Regents candidate Steve Ludwig reiterated his position in opposition to allowing licensed concealed-carry permit-holders to exercise their rights on university-administered property, although he did concede that “CU lost a lawsuit, so we have to allow concealed carry on campus.”

Ludwig, at least, was consistent.

Republican CU Board of Regents candidate Brian Davidson, however, seems to have flip-flopped on the position he took during the primary campaign (during which he claimed to “support the 2nd Amendment” and licensed concealed carry) and joined Ludwig in supporting legislation (such as a bill proposed by Boulder Democrat Claire Levy) allowing the university to again ban guns (and violate the rights of all Coloradoans) on campus:

Chris Vanderveen (9News YourShow Host): “Do you want the legislature to get involved, Brian?” (video at 5:24)

Brian Davidson, Republican candidate for CU Regent At-Large: “I do, and I’d actually take a little bit different stance – that is, having this issue on each board table across the state of Colorado, I think is simply going to be a fight, it’s going to have, uh… induce chaos, um, and take away from the issues at hand, of affordable education, quality education, uh, et cetera. I’d actually like the legislature to decide whether or not higher education institutions should or should not be exempt from that, uh, from that bill, and take the debate away from the board table.”

Of course, the Colorado legislature already DID “decide whether or not higher education institutions should or should not be exempt from that, uh, from that bill” when passing the Colorado Concealed Carry Statute (C.R.S. 18-12-214) in 2003 with a definitive “NOT exempt” – as confirmed by both the March 2012 Colorado Supreme Court ruling, and the more sweeping Colorado Court of Appeals April 2010 ruling:

Institutions of higher education not exempt from the express authorization of permittees to carry concealed handguns “in all areas of the state”. The concealed carry act, § § 18-12-201 to 18-12-216, satisfies the “unless otherwise provided by law” provision of article VIII, section 5(2), of the state constitution by manifesting a clear and unmistakable intent to subject the entire state to a single statutory scheme regulating concealed handgun carry, subject to specified exceptions. Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, LLC v. Regents of Univ. of Colo., — P.3d — (Colo. App. 2010).

CU’s Gun Ban policies needlessly endanger the safety of students, staff, faculty, and visitors by putting them at greater risk of criminal predation, as ”gun free zone” = “target-rich environment” for criminals.

The continued support of the CU Board of Regents – both the current majority and candidates for election this year – for policies and legislation violating the rights of a segment of Colorado citizens (CU students, staff, faculty, and campus visitors) is deeply disturbing.

Allowing responsible adults to exercise a fundamental constitutional right – affirming the right of licensed adult concealed-carry permit holders to responsibly exercise their inherent right of armed self-defense – is not only good law, it is good policy.

Clear The Bench Colorado will, with your support, continue to promote transparency and accountability in the Colorado judiciary, informing the public to increase awareness of the substantial public policy implications of an unrestrained activism and political agendas in the courts.  We will continue to work to educate voters and provide information of relevance related to the judicial branch, and to provide useful and substantive evaluations of judicial performance. However, we can’t do it alone –  we need your continued support; via your comments (Sound Off!) and, yes, your contributions.

Freedom isn’t free –nor is it always easy to be a Citizen, not a subject.

Ultimately, though – it’s worth the effort.

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