CSU Student Body, Administration Split On Proposed Gun Ban
State lawmakers heard sharply divided testimony Monday on a measure that would ban the carry of concealed weapons on college campuses.
It’s a debate that continues to echo across the Colorado State University campus in Fort Collins where CSU administration is for the ban, while many students are against it.
The divide stretches all the way back to 2010 when CSU’s Board of Governors attempted to install a concealed carry ban on campus despite student support for the practice. The effort was ultimately squelched by court rulings affirming the right to carry concealed weapons. In May 2010 CSU officials rescinded the proposed ban.
Flash forward to this week. Student Body President Regina Martel says the pulse of student opinion hasn’t changed.
“Students were overwhelmingly in opposition to the bill,” she said. “For a number of reasons: safety, also wanting universities to control it themselves.”
If passed, House Bill 1226 would override a Colorado Supreme Court decision on the matter.
The Colorado State University system—along with the Colorado School of Mines and the Colorado Community College system—support the bill. University of Colorado regents postponed a vote on the matter—rendering no official stance for the system.
Ultimately as Martel explains the issue really comes down to the question of what makes campuses safer.
“I think it’s more they view safety in one way whereas we view safety in another way.”
People on both sides of the debate have data—or lack of data—that they cite as reasons why the ban makes campuses more or less safe. And inside the Lory Student Center, security was very much on the mind of Sophomore Chris Pratt.
“If you’re walking home from class around 9 o’clock, you should have a right to defend yourself no matter what happens. Even if it’s a gun or a Taser or something. Because I know there are some weirdoes out there,” he said.
But Sophomore Lawson Felice doesn’t see a need for guns on campus.
“There’s nothing that happens where you would need it so I don’t think it would make it necessarily safer.”
Out of the seven students interviewed for this story, Felice was the only one in favor of the bill.
Colorado State University officials declined a recorded interview about House Bill 1226. The closest statement came from CSU President Tony Frank who happened to be passing through the student center. Frank declined comment.
The proposed legislation now moves to the Senate Floor for debate this Friday.