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NOREEN: No evidence of guns at UCCS

By: BARRY NOREEN
October 5, 2012
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Presumably by now, some students of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs are carrying concealed handguns to class.

The CU system was on the losing end of a legal battle decided by the Colorado Supreme Court, which held in March that state-supported colleges and universities were not exempt from a state law allowing persons with permits to carry concealed weapons to do so in most state buildings.

Just before classes started in August, the CU Board of Regents unveiled rules stating that while concealed guns could be carried on campus, they still would be barred from sporting events. CU also asserted that anyone staying at dorms or college apartments would have to notify campus police if they intended to have a concealed weapon.

In a news release, UCCS said concealed-carry permit holders living in non-freshmen dorms would have to lock their weapons “in an approved gun safe when the weapon is not carried.”

The rules didn’t sit well with gun rights advocates, including the Mountain States Legal Foundation, which won the case at the high court level. Some complained that the CU systemwide rules would force some concealed-carry permit holders to ‘out’ themselves by reporting to campus police, when in any other situation, the list of permit holders is confidential.

However, no one has challenged the rules in court.

How many UCCS students have notified campus police that they intend to have a concealed weapon in a residence hall?

“None, zero, nada,” said UCCS spokesman Tom Hutton. “It hasn’t been an issue for us.”

Any complaints from students fearing a gun-toting classmate?

No, none of those, either.

“The whole point being, it’s supposed to be concealed,” Hutton noted.

Under state law a concealed-carry permit holder must be 21 years old, so many students would not qualify, anyway.

Steve Hasbrouck, a member of the political action committee for the Pikes Peak Firearms Coalition, said at the group’s meetings, “several people have shown up to talk about it.” But Hasbrouck didn’t take issue with the UCCS rules.

One aspect won’t change: Some people feel safer with guns around and some people feel threatened.

The truth is that El Paso County has the highest number of concealed-carry permit holders and they haven’t gotten involved in accidents or incidents in which the use of deadly force was unwarranted. No one knows how many concealed handguns are carried around the UCCS campus — probably not very many.

Bottom line: It is not much safer or more threatening at UCCS than it was before all of this started.

Listen to Barry Noreen on KRDO NewsRadio 105.5 FM and 1240 AM at 6:35 a.m. on Fridays and follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Contact him at 719-636-0363 or barry.noreen@gazette.com

 

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