In a victory for gun-rights advocates, the Colorado Supreme Court today struck down the University of Colorado’s campus gun ban, saying the CU Board of Regents overstepped its authority in blocking students from carrying licensed concealed weapons.
“We’re very, very happy,” said James Manley of the Mountain State Legal Foundation, which argued against CU’s ban. “The position of the Supreme Court was that they (the CU regents) were operating above the law.”
Justices ruled that the state’s Concealed Carry Act’s “comprehensive statewide purpose, broad language, narrow exclusions show that the General Assembly intended to divest the Board of Regents of its authority to regulate concealed handgun possession on campus.”
The Concealed Carry Act ” passed by the state legislature in 2003 ” states that a person with a permit may carry a concealed weapon “in all areas of the state,” with the exception of some federal properties, K-12 schools and buildings with fixed security checkpoints, such as courthouses. It also states that a “local government” may not enforce an ordinance or resolution that conflicts with law.
CU regents, however, said they have the authority to ban concealed weapons on campuses, leased buildings and any area under control of university police.
But in 2009, three students in El Paso County filed a lawsuit. The students ” Students for Concealed Carry on Campus ” argued the ban violated the Concealed Carry Act and the Colorado Constitution.
An El Paso District Court judge dismissed their suit, saying the Board of Regents is not considered a local government, but a “statewide authority with its own legislative powers over distinct geographical areas.
In 2010, the Colorado Court of Appeals reversed that decision, saying it was clear the Concealed Carry Act was intended to apply statewide.
In a unanimous decision, the State Supreme Court backed the appeals court. CU now must join Colorado State University in allowing students to carry licensed concealed weapons on campus, Manley said.