Boulder, Civil Liberties, Featured, Higher Education, Local Gun Rights, Sherrie Peif, University of Colorado

University of Colorado Regents push back on proposed campus concealed carry ban

BOULDER — A pair of University of Colorado (CU) Regents are leading the charge against an effort to ban concealed carry at all campus buildings and property, a move the full board is scheduled to take at its meeting later this week.

The changes to CU’s policy 14.I, Weapons Control, is being brought by Regent Wanda James a Democrat who represents the 1st Congressional District out of Denver.

The policy change strikes wording that protects Coloradans rights under the state’s concealed carry law while on campus and replaces it with a ban on the carrying of a concealed handgun by permit holders.

Currently the policy reads:

“In recognition of its obligation to preserve the learning and working environment, and to recognize the rights of citizens to exercise their rights under the Colorado concealed carry laws, the Board of Regents authorizes the enactment of rules lawfully regulating the possession of firearms, explosives, and other weapons.”

The new law would read:

“In recognition of its obligation to preserve the learning and working environment, the Board of Regents prohibits possession of such weapons on all campuses. This prohibition does not apply to authorized possession for use in an educational program; for carrying out the duties of university employment requiring the use of a firearm; or for the purposes of participation in an authorized extracurricular activity or team.”

Regents push back

At least two regents are fighting the measure and are hoping their colleagues will see the multitude of problems the new law creates.

In a letter sent out to friends and supporters, Regent Frank McNulty, a Republican representing Colorado’s 4th Congressional District (Eastern Colorado and parts of Weld and Douglas counties), said it is imperative that the  policy change be rejected because the “change to Regent policy would stand even if the state law is ruled unconstitutional and overruled.”

CU previously had a conceal carry ban until 2012, when the  Colorado Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional. Concealed carry on campus has been allowed since.

However, a bill passed in 2021 and signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis, grays the subject. Senate Bill 21-256, Local Regulation of Firearms, did away with Colorado’s state preemption, allowing local authorities to enact laws and regulations around guns, so long as they are more stringent than those at the state level.

That bill has created a patchwork of gun laws that most can’t follow from community to community because they are so vastly different, confusing gun owners over where it’s legal to carry openly or concealed, or how long a waiting period is to purchase a new gun, among many other things.

Then earlier this year, the state legislature passed Senate Bill 24-131, Prohibiting Carrying Firearms in Sensitive Spaces. That bill prohibited all firearms, including concealed carry, in state legislative buildings, a local government buildings and courthouses. It included higher education institutions.

That is where McNulty believes enshrining the ban into CU policy would cause issues. As it stands the state already prohibits concealed carry on college campuses. But if that law is overturned, it would not overturn a ban by CU and a separate lawsuit would be needed to abolish that law.

“I support concealed carry and I am opposed to banning concealed carry in Colorado. If you support the Second Amendment, and support our right to carry concealed, I encourage you to join me and participate in this process, so your voice is heard,” McNulty said in his letter, adding ways for constituents to contact CU Regents with their opinions.

CU Regent Mark Van Driel, a Republican who represents Congressional District 8 (Weld, Larimer and Adams counties), also took issue with the policy change for several reasons.

First, according to VanDriel, the proposal applies to all university affiliate property.

“That includes research areas such as the Mountain Research Station, a wilderness research preservation far away from any of our traditional campuses,” VanDriel Said.

VanDriel said it also includes the administrative building in Denver — also distinct from the other campuses.

“Under the Constitution, we can only restrict weapons in spaces similar to those that saw firearm restriction under longstanding legal precedent,” VanDriel said. “I am convinced that restrictions so broad as to incorporate office buildings and wilderness preserves violate the Constitution. Regents do not have discretion to violate it.”

An unenforceable policy

Also, VanDriel said, CU operates a (mostly) open campus.

“There is no plan to enforce these rules, and doing so would be extremely expensive,” VanDriel said. “In 38 years of “banned” concealed carry, we have no records of ever enforcing or attempting to enforce the ban. … We know what the result will be — an unenforced and unenforceable rule. These types of rules invite discrimination. It is also not clear if it would be even possible to enforce a universal rule on our different campuses.”

Finally, VanDriel said it is fiscally irresponsible for CU Regents to put the college at risk for future litigation. VanDriel said he has asked many of the individuals and groups who requested this action what enforcement plans are. He has received no response other than it is a symbolic gesture.

“It is inappropriate for us to tempt lawsuits at the fringe of Constitution permissibility over symbolic actions,” VanDriel said. “If we had enforcement plans that could meaningfully impact safety, it is a different scenario, but as we currently stand, these actions are merely symbolic.”

The meeting will be held at the Pueblo Convention Center Thursday and Friday, June 20 and 21. The policy change is on the agenda for 9:15 a.m. Friday. Written testimony can be submitted to

Complete Colorado will continue to follow this story.


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