Confusion over University of Colorado concealed-carry policies adds controversy to Colorado Republican State Assembly
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.
The University of Colorado’s history of pursuing policies to ban guns on campus, added to CU’s reputation as a bastion of left-leaning ideology, had already made the selection of the university as the venue to host the 2014 Colorado Republican State Assembly controversial to many Republicans – particularly given the centrality of gun-rights issues in the state’s politics, as demonstrated in last year’s historic recall of two sitting state legislators (now former Senate President John Morse, and former state senator Angie Giron) and the resignation of a third (former senator Evie Hudak) facing a looming recall campaign.
Over the past week, rumors have been flying that the University of Colorado planned to ban licensed concealed-carry at the Coors Events Center (site of the 2014 Republican Assembly), in violation of state law. These rumors were given wider circulation and credence after reports that COGOP State Chairman Ryan Call confirmed that no firearms were allowed at the assembly and then proceeded to joke about it at the county chairs meeting when the subject was raised.
Clear The Bench Colorado‘s inquiries with party officers and staff confirmed their understanding stated that it was “CU venue policy” to ban firearms at on-campus events; following up with CU Regent Sue Sharkey, she stated that it was her understanding that the policy applied to ticketed events, but was unsure as to whether that included the state assembly.
After being called out on the issue, Chairman Ryan Call announced at the CD3 Congressional Assembly earlier today that “he worked with the CU Board of Regents to ensure that our 2nd Amendment rights were upheld.”
So - Clear The Bench Colorado went straight to the source. The evidence shows that Chairman Call has been “factually challenged” all along – first, that the university would (or legally could) ban licensed concealed-carry on campus, and second in claiming credit for effecting any change in university policy.
The fact of the matter is that the University of Colorado never planned to ban licensed concealed-carry from the state assembly in the first place. According to Ryan Huff, spokesman for the CU Boulder campus, anyone possessing a valid concealed-carry permit can bring firearms into the Coors Event Center (or anywhere on the CU-Boulder campus) – per the requirements of state law.
Mr. Huff also explained that the CU policy of banning concealed-carry from CU ticketed events such as football or basketball games was based on a contract included in ticket sales (and duly noted, in fine print, on each ticket sold) – which may have been the source of the confusion.
Although obligating individuals to “sign away” a fundamental constitutional right via ticket sales remains problematic, that policy at least has the saving grace of being a voluntary transaction – easily avoided by not purchasing any ticket to CU sporting events.
As has been repeatedly demonstrated (most recently and, again, most tragically at Fort Hood), 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.
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.
Ultimately, though – it’s worth the effort.