New Colorado senate bill would prohibit firearms on college campuses

On March 20, a bill will be heard by the Colorado General Assembly Judiciary Committee that will prohibit firearms—concealed or not—on college campuses and in other “sensitive spaces,” if passed.

If SB 24-131 passes this judiciary hearing, it will move on to the senate. If passed by the senate, it will move on to the house. There must be three passed readings on the bill that goes through each chamber before it goes to the governor, who will either pass the bill or veto it.

The bill defines 19 locations as “sensitive spaces” that would prohibit firearms, including campuses, polling places, hospitals, community centers, public playgrounds and parks, public libraries, jails, juvenile detention centers, government buildings, protests and rallies — concealed or not.

Law enforcement, peace officers, members of the military and security personnel would be exempt from this law while they are on duty.

Anyone who violates this law would be found guilty of a misdemeanor. If convicted, the violator would owe a fine of no more than $250 and upon second offense no more than $1,000.

If passed, this act will take place on July 1.

The bill was created by Giffords, a national lobbyist group that focuses on policies that prevent gun violence. The group was founded in 2013 following the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.

Anne Barkis, who works for Giffords, spoke at UCCS on March 5 and encouraged everyone to contact their representatives if they are in favor of the bill.

“There will be two committee hearings and then the votes with the entire chamber, so the full senate and the full house … every legislator, all 100 of them, will have a chance to weigh in on this bill at some point,” she said.

The bill is currently sponsored by state senators Sonia Jaquez Lewis, Chris Kolker, Lisa Cutter, Rhonda Fields and Tom Sullivan. It is also sponsored by house representatives Kyle Brown, Mandy Lindsay and Meg Froelich.

The hearing on Wednesday will be led by the judiciary committee, who regularly review pending legislation.

Students and faculty from the UCCS chapter for Students Demand Action, a national organization that helps high schools and colleges learn about local legislation concerning firearms and how to go about creating change. and the visual and performing arts department is mobilizing to provide testimony in favor of this bill.

Barkis emphasized the importance of students using their voices as representatives of the Colorado Springs community. “It’s good to remind folks that there are differences of opinion even within Colorado Springs,” she said.

Colorado Senate. Photo courtesy of Colorado Public Radio.