Guns

Univ. of Colorado to Keep Guns Off Campus

| by Brady Campaign

Brady Center officials applauded a ruling by El Paso County, Colorado District
Court Judge G. David Miller dismissing a lawsuit that had sought to force the
University of Colorado to allow students to carry loaded, concealed firearms on
campus. Attorneys with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence’s Legal Action
Project provided advice and assistance to the University in defending against
the lawsuit.

The ruling found that the University acted reasonably in
barring students from carrying concealed weapons on campus, noting the
University Regents’ determination that the presence of firearms on campus
“threatens the tranquility of the education environment and contributes in an
offensive manner to an unacceptable climate of violence.” The court issued the
ruling on April 30, 2009.

“The University of Colorado has chosen
wisely and appropriately to protect students’ safety by barring armed students,”
said Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence President Paul Helmke. “A campus
where students may carry loaded semiautomatic weapons to class and elsewhere is
not conducive to higher learning.”

The lawsuit sought to
accomplish in the courts what the NRA has largely failed to accomplish in state
legislatures. In 2008, proponents of guns in the classroom went
zero-for-seventeen, with “guns-on-campus” bills failing in Alabama, Arizona,
Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi,
Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and
Washington. Similar bills have failed this year in Indiana, North Dakota,
Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Virginia.

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In dismissing the
lawsuit, the Court rejected claims that the Colorado Constitution grants a
Constitutional right for students to carry loaded, concealed weapons on campus.
To the contrary, the Court noted that the Colorado Constitution specifically
states that “nothing herein contained shall be construed to justify the practice
of carrying concealed weapons.” The Court also rejected claims that the
Colorado Concealed Carry Act requires the University of Colorado to allow armed
students on campus, finding that this law specifically preempts only local
governments from barring concealed weapons, not statewide institutions such as
the University.

The Brady Center report, No Gun Left Behind: The Gun
Lobby's Campaign to Push Guns Into Colleges and Schools, highlights the severe
dangers posed by firearms on campus.

(The report is available online at
http://www.bradycampaign.org/xshare/pdf/reports/no-gun-left-behind.pdf.)

The
report details the reasons why bringing guns onto campus would dramatically
increase the danger to students and faculty. For example, studies show that
college gun owners are more likely than other students to binge drink, need a
drink first thing in the morning, use cocaine or crack, be arrested for a DUI,
vandalize property, and get in trouble with the police. Every year about 1,100
college students commit suicide, but another 24,000 attempt to do so. Given
that 90% of attempted suicides with guns are successful, easy access to guns on
campus would likely lead to an increase in suicides.