The state of concealed carry policies at UCCS

After the double homicide of 24-year-old UCCS senior Samuel Knopp and 26-year-old Celie Rain Montgomery on Feb. 16, unease surrounding UCCS’ conceal carry policy has continued to grow.

Community members feel unsafe after Knopp and Montgomery were found dead with sustained gunshot wounds in Knopp’s dorm room at Crestone building in Alpine Village. Knopp’s roommate, Nicholas Jordan, allegedly committed the homicides.

Campus gun policy prohibits carrying a firearm while on campus without a permit, but authorizes the possession of a handgun to students 21 and older with an active and valid concealed carry permit with registration filed to UCCS.

In a virtual forum on Feb. 20, Chief of Police Dewayne McCarver said Jordan, 26, did not possess a valid concealed carry permit with registration that was filed to UCCS.

CU Gun Policy

Before 2012, guns were strictly prohibited on campus, but the Colorado Concealed Carry Act allows Colorado residents to carry a handgun with a valid permit, and the Board of Regents chose to recognize the right to concealed carry under Policy 14.I.

Residence Life and Housing restricts the possession of a firearm in residence halls with the exception of on-campus upperclassmen who live in Alpine Village apartments.

The 23-24 Housing Contract states under the Colorado Concealed Carry Act, students must agree to uphold their permit, conceal the handgun at all times and have written consent from their roommates to conceal carry and/or store the handgun in a UCCS-provided gun locker at Alpine Village.

This policy is only applicable to Alpine Village Apartments with proper notification of campus housing and does not apply to First Year Experience Housing Facilities.

CU Regent Ken Montera, who was elected regent of the district UCCS is in, said the prohibition of weapons and firearms anywhere on property owned or operated by the university in compliance with this policy has remained consistent.

According to Montera, no requests for permission for concealed carry have been issued for UCCS dorm spaces for the 2023-24 academic year.

Since no permit has been filed for the academic year, Montera said it is incredibly likely that Knopp and his other roommate, Giancarlo Argueta-Agudelo, were unaware that Jordan was in possession of a firearm.

Current state of a potential concealed carry ban

In June 2021, Colorado Senate passed SB 21-256, allowing higher education institutions to prohibit concealed carry on campus.

On Feb. 7, the Colorado General Assembly introduced SB 24-131, a bill that is under consideration and will prohibit firearms, either concealed or not, in “sensitive” spaces such as universitites.

The bill contains exemptions for law enforcement officers, members of the military, security personnel and people participating in organized college extracurricular activities.

The general assembly’s judiciary committee is hearing the bill on March 13 at 1:30 p.m. to make a decision on the bill.

A CU-wide student movement started by Boulder on Oct. 6 of 2022, called for a ban on concealed carry, which prompted a discussion of the ban at the April 18, 2023 Board of Regents meeting. However, no decisions have been made about the proposed ban almost one year later.

On Feb. 29, the Board of Regents held a remote executive session only board meeting that was closed to the public. No public business was conducted, and no information about the meeting has been published.

During the April 18 regent meeting last year, McCarver presented on gun-related incident statistics on or around campus, which he stated no incidents involving conceal carry took place:

  • 2004 — a gun was reportedly seen on campus
  • 2018 — a shooting occurred on the edge of UCCS property but did not involve any student or staff
  • 2022 — Non-student on adjacent property was taken into custody after firing into the air

Mountain Lion Statue. Photo by Josiah Dolan.