The issue of concealed carry on college campuses has long been a hotly contested issue. At the beginning of March, based on a decision made by the Colorado State Supreme Court, it was decided that concealed carry should be allowed on the Colorado School of Mines campus.
“Colorado School of Mines has modified its Firearms, Explosives and other Weapons policy. Individuals who possess valid concealed carry permits may lawfully carry their concealed handguns on the Colorado School of Mines campus, subject to the conditions and requirements outlined in state law, C.R.S. 18-12-201, et seq.” This notification was sent in a campus wide email on Thursday, March 8, three days after the Colorado Supreme Court ruled CU’s Board of Regents could not ban those who hold a concealed carry permit from carrying on campus.
In a unanimous decision written by Justice Allsion Eid referencing Colorado’s 2003 Concealed Carry Act, the court ruled, “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.”
This ruling did not directly apply to Mines, but Campus Chief of Police George Hughes explained the change in Mines policy. He said, “Knowing that our policy was similar to CU’s, we could not continue with a policy that was contradictory to state law.”
Explaining Mines’ old policy, Hughes said, “It banned all weapons from campus with a few minor exceptions – law enforcement, ROTC, that sort of thing.”
To get a concealed carry permit in the State of Colorado, an individual must go through several steps. The first requirement is to be 21 years old. The second is to be either a current or former military or law enforcement member or to go through a handgun training class. The third is to pass a full background check by law enforcement. Once this is done, the sheriff of the county in which an individual resides may choose to issue them a permit for concealed carry.
“Because of the change and because of the court ruling, this has created a lot of anxiety on campus, a lot of people on campus disagree with this.” said Hughes. “We are trying to be more proactive in educating the campus community in safety precautions and what you can do if you see a gun on campus.”
Students have their own opinions about the issue. Alex Lovato, a freshman, said, “I feel less safe after the policy change; in my opinion you shouldn’t bring a weapon to school regardless of your intentions.”
Freshman Clayton Koobs differs in opinion with Alex. He said, “A lot of people say that concealed carry is just putting guns into the hands of crazy people. Well, at least those crazy people are registered citizens that are over 21 and passed a handgun safety class and a rigorous background test.”
“I can tell you that there are colleges in Colorado who have not had this policy for a long time. CSU has allowed concealed carry weapons on campus for a long time and it has been a non-issue for them.” said Hughes. He said about how the new policy would affect Mines, “What this comes down to is it’s not about guns, it’s not about guns on campus, it’s that people felt they had a constitutional right to do so and it’s about their constitutional right.”