The University of Colorado voted Friday to continue fighting for the right to ban guns on campus. The CU Board of Regents voted 5-4 in favor of appealing the lawsuit brought by Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC), which sought legal confirmation that college directors lack authority to suspend Colorado law or Constitutional rights.
Clearly, power and politics, rather than concern for student safety, are ruling the day for CU’s regents. Crime at CU has risen 35 percent in the past four years at the college which prohibits lawful concealed carry, while crime at Colorado State University has dropped 60 percent in the same time frame. No thinking person can look at those numbers and still assert that allowing concealed carry will prove dangerous for the campus.
In fact, other colleges in Colorado have seen the handwriting on the wall with the recent legal victory won by SCCC and changed their policies and allowed concealed carry on campus.
The Associated Press reported that Tillie Bishop, the swing vote, insisted the regents must be allowed to set the rules for a college campus. This argument may hold for private institutions with the authority to set their own rules on firearms as much as attire or conduct, but public taxpayer-funded institutions must not and do not possess the right to govern or suspend the right to bear arms any more than they can suspend free speech, or govern what books to read or what religion to follow. A right is a right.
Regent Michael Carrigan claimed SCCC first chose the oppositional approach by bringing a lawsuit, asking instead that students, faculty and staff be mustered to support ending the gun ban. It appears Regent Carrigan is under the mistaken impression that a majority must express support for a right before it can be granted. (It is doubtful that such a standard would be applied to freedom of speech or of the press.)
Regent Stephen Ludwig reiterated the well-worn and well-discredited argument that students experimenting with sex, alcohol and drugs don’t need guns added to the mix. Regent Ludwig should immediately begin tracking down and reporting students who are both licensed to carry concealed weapons and involved with illicit drug use, or who are armed while intoxicated, since either is grounds for permit revocation as well as criminal prosecution.
SCCC advocates allowing citizens who already possess the credentials to carry a concealed weapon to carry on campus. Arguments against “arming students” are not relevant, since the argument is not about who should carry, but whether or not colleges can enforce discriminatory policies against those who already carry.
By pursuing a costly legal battle with slim odds of success at the expense of the university – students, faculty, staff and ultimately parents and taxpayers – the CU Board of Regents continues to prove its willingness to put personal politics and authority ahead of the greater good of the entire college.