OPINION | Concealed carry in Alpine Village will not prevent more gun violence

When I lived on campus my first two years at UCCS, I always felt safe. I disagreed with my roommates from time to time in San Juan, and I dealt with cockroaches and water leaks in Antero, but I never once feared for my life.  

When I woke up on Feb. 16, the first thing I saw when I opened my phone was that campus was on lockdown because of a shooting. The sense of security I always felt living on campus drifted away and made room for a pit of devastation and distrust to grow in my heart.  

The devastation turned to rage when I saw another student encourage Alpine Village residents to apply for concealed carry in a Snapchat post later that day. He argued it was the best way for students to protect themselves from future violence.  

How could you invite more violence into the place I and so many others have called home? How could you ask the same students trapped in lockdown to bring more guns around? How would that prevent this from happening again? 

A study conducted in Georgia showed a decrease in campus safety after the state allowed for campus carry. The study found that the law led to more guns on campus, increased fear and distrust among students and had no effect on campus violence. 

Another study conducted by a Stanford Research team found that those living in a home with a firearm are twice as likely to die of homicide than those who aren’t. Northeastern University Professor Matthew Miller has conducted multiple studies proving that those with access to guns are at a higher risk of death, injury and suicide. 

I remembered reading over something about concealed carry when I moved into Antero last year and thinking there was no point in reading it, because I would never bring a gun on campus.  

The 2023-24 Housing Contract states that students with a valid Colorado Concealed Carry Permit are allowed to carry their firearms concealed in the Alpine Village Apartments. The contract says that permit holders “must obtain written consent from the Student’s roommates in order for the Student to carry concealed and/or store the handgun in the room.” Those approved for concealed carry must always keep their weapon on their person.  

The Contract continues: “If the Student does not carry the handgun on the Student’s person in accordance with the Act, the handgun must be: 1) kept locked in the Student’s vehicle, 2) kept in a locked room safe provided by the University or 3) checked in/out through the Department of Public Safety where that department shall secure it.” 

As a former resident of Antero, I would have liked to know if anyone in the building had a concealed carry permit. I passed by neighbors every day, and it disturbs me that any of them could have been concealing a firearm. I would have had no idea.  

The Contract further says that permits must be submitted to the Residence Hall Director but does not say whether RAs are made aware of students carrying concealed. RAs could be responding to roommate disputes without any knowledge of a student having a concealed weapon.  

Guns are useless in situations of self-defense if they are locked in an offsite safe. And I see no reason why someone who wants to use a gun for the purpose of violence couldn’t grab it out of their car and head back inside.  

I am not alone in feeling this way. An Oct. 2023 Gallup Poll shows that 56% of Americans favor more gun control. Gallup has conducted the same poll several times since 1990. Every poll has shown a majority in favor of increased gun control except from 2008-2011 and in 2014.  

When we move into the dorms, they become our home for our nine months of study. Welcoming guns into our home puts us at a higher risk, not a higher level of preparedness. Maybe if we took the guns out of the dorms, I would feel safe on campus again.

The Spine. Photo by Josiah Dolan.