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In Colorado, carrying guns on campus is no longer controversial

AP Photo/John Miller, File

AP Photo/John Miller, File

The University of Colorado (CU) system fought for almost 10 years to ban licensed concealed carry on their college campuses. However, as the battle now plays out on other campuses across the country, many students and staff of the CU system seem to view other issues as more pressing than firearm possession.

“The concealed carry issue is not much on the radar screen these days,” University of Colorado system President Bruce Benson told the Austin American-Statesman.

The Colorado state legislature enacted a concealed carry law back in 2003, however, the University of Colorado system enforced gun-free zones until a unanimous state Supreme Court ruling in 2012 forced the campuses to comply with state law.

Such sentiment could be seen as the spark of a national trend that is now taking other college campuses by storm.

“I feel that there shouldn’t be such strict gun laws,” says Logan Crain, a criminal justice major at the CU Colorado Springs campus. “The only people the laws affect are the citizens who follow the laws.”

Crain’s sentiment holds true for several other students at the system’s Colorado Springs campus, which is traditionally more conservative than its northern counterparts (Boulder, Denver, and Aurora).

Alexandra Ruiz, a freshman from California, provided her take on concealed carry on campus.

“Many believe that regulating guns would stop mad shootings, but what is that going to help? The fault in many school shootings and — in any murders involving shootings, the blame should be given to the person not the object,” she said.

Universities in other states are not as open to the idea of concealed carry rights as those in Colorado.

Perhaps the most extreme example is Texas. The state’s higher education systems are currently embroiled in controversy as they prepare to institute Senate Bill 11, which will expand the right of concealed carry on campus.

Professors involved in the “Gun-Free UT” movement have argued that there should be no concealed guns in the classroom, or anywhere on campus for that matter. UT Chancellor William McRaven said that in addition to safety concerns, he is worried that the new law will “inhibit freedom of speech.”

Private universities in the state including Texas Christian University and Southern Methodist University have chosen to opt-out of the campus carry law, and several others including Baylor, Trinity University, and Paul Quinn College have expressed their intention to do the same.

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