April 17, 2018
A recent bill that would have allowed individuals in the state to conceal carry a firearm without a permit was rejected in the Colorado State House.
Colorado law already states that it is illegal to carry a gun on a K-12, college or university campus without a concealed carry permit.
“That’s what really frames our mindset on what the Second Amendment looks like because we aren’t allowed to allow people without a concealed carry permit on campus by state law,” said Marc Pino, executive director of Public Safety and chief of police.
Current CU policy allows anyone with a valid permit to conceal carry on campus. However, carrying a firearm on any CU campus without a concealed carry permit is prohibited.
“The (CU Board of Regents) policy is the policy for all of the campuses. Each campus can then institute their own policy on their campus, but pretty much UCCS refers to the regent policy,” said Pino.
The regent policy came about after a Colorado Supreme Court ruling in 2012. Previously, the CU system banned conceal carry on CU campuses.
“I think that it’s an important distinction to make because it wasn’t a decision to allow it to happen; it was a court ruling that forced the university to allow it,” said Pino.
Concealed carry permits are issued through the county sheriff. Applicants must attend a training where they demonstrate that they are proficient with a firearm and pass a test about the state gun laws.
After an individual completes those steps, they submit their application and the county sheriff conducts an additional background check.
“The method that you would have to go through to get a permit is a lot more extensive than what the background check is to purchase a firearm,” said Pino.
According to Pino, it’s difficult to know how the proposed law would have affected UCCS because no one under the age of 21 is allowed to own a handgun, and the type of firearm that would be affected by the law.
“The majority of our population, especially our live-in campus population, our resident students, typically aren’t of the age of 21. So, it wouldn’t have increased to the full student body as a population who would could potentially have concealed weapons on them at any given time,” said Pino.
The intent of requiring permits to conceal carry is to protect people, said Pino.
“Really what it does is create an additional step in terms of making sure that people who are carrying concealed weapons are not a danger to the community,” said Pino.
Students on campus have varied opinions on concealed carry. Junior marketing major Mitchell Cockell is not in favor of the policy.
“I don’t see any benefit coming from that. We have police officers on campus for that purpose,” he said. “I don’t think that the solution to a security problem is putting guns in the hands of people who might not necessarily be trained in combat situations.”
Senior computer science major Seiko Cammack agrees with Cockell. “It seems kind of dangerous. There’s a lot of police everywhere; it isn’t as necessary here for protection,” said Cammack.
Under the current policy, campus police doesn’t need to be notified by permit holders when they conceal carry on campus.
“The question that we always end up getting asked is ‘how many people have concealed carry permits on campus?’ Because it includes, faculty, staff, students and visitors, anybody coming to campus who has a concealed carry permit can potentially be carrying, and we don’t know because they are not required to check in,” said Pino.
Pino is only aware of two incidents on campus when a concealed firearm accidentally became unconcealed and campus police were notified.
“What usually ends up happening is that there is an accident where somebody had a gun on, they put their backpack on and it pulled up their jacket, and they didn’t realize it,” said Pino.
“One guy was sleeping in the Student Life and Leadership Office on one of the couches and didn’t realize that it ended up being shown.”
When this happens, campus police has the individual show them their concealed carry permit. It can be an educational experience for the permit holder.
“We came out, and concealed carry law stipulates that if you are contacted by law enforcement, they have to provide their concealed carry permit, so they have to have it on them. And it should be concealed,” said Pino.
“In these incidents it’s usually just education and we will contact them to make sure that they are following the law.”
On-campus residents are required to notify the university if they choose to bring a firearm when they move to campus.
According to the Housing Contract for on-campus residents, students living in the First Year Experience Housing Facilities are not permitted to bring a firearm, including concealed carry, into the dorms.
The Housing Contract states that if a student does not carry their handgun on their person, the gun must be locked in the student’s vehicle, kept locked in a room safe provided by the University, or checked in and out through the Department of Public Safety, where they will secure it.
Students with a concealed carry permit who live on campus must notify the Residence Life and Housing Office and campus police if they intend to keep a handgun with them.
“One of policies also is that resident students, if they want to bring a weapon to campus, say are a hunter and they like to go hunting, they can’t keep a weapon within the residence halls. They have to check it in with Public Safety,” said Pino.
“If somebody had a concealed carry permit and lived in the residence halls, then residence life and housing office would provide a safe to keep it in their room and locked up when it wasn’t with them.”
For more information on concealed carry, contact Public Safety at uccs.edu/pusafety/.