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Gun owners garner big win at Colorado Supreme Court

William Perry Pendley, Mountain States Legal Foundation

PRESS RELEASE March 5, 2012 

DENVER, CO. A national group and three of its Colorado members today won a unanimous victory at the Colorado Supreme Court when the Court upheld the ruling of the Colorado Court of Appeals that the 2003 Colorado Concealed Carry Act (CCA) bars the University of Colorado (CU) Board of Regents from regulating the use of concealed carry permits on campus. Students for Concealed Carry on Campus and three Coloradoans, represented by Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF), prevailed at the Court of Appeals in April 2010, when a three-judge panel reversed an El Paso County state district court’s April 2009, decision and ruled that the CCA bars local rules, such as those adopted by CU, that conflict with the Act and that CU’s ban on firearms in vehicles for self-defense is unconstitutional. In June 2010, the Regents voted 5-4 to appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court; their petition was granted in October 2010. The case was argued in June 2011.

“We are delighted with the Supreme Court’s ruling that the General Assembly’s comprehensive statewide purpose for adopting the concealed carry law and its use of broad language and narrow exclusions demonstrate its intent to divest CU of authority to regulate concealed handgun possession on campus,” said William Perry Pendley, MSLF president.

Colorado’s CCA, C.R.S. § 18-12-201, requires concealed handgun permit applicants to undergo an extensive background check to ensure they have no history of substance abuse or criminal activity, are not subject to a protection order, and have demonstrated competency with a handgun. Applicants must be over 21 years of age and must carry firearms completely out of sight. If the local Sheriff concludes that a permit holder is dangerous, the Sheriff may deny or cancel a permit; fewer than 1 percent of permits issued in Colorado have been revoked. The Act has only four exceptions to the right to carry: locations prohibited by federal law; K–12 schools; public buildings with metal detectors; and private property.

SCCC’s lawsuit charges that CU Regents are prohibited by the CCA from adopting conflicting regulations. In addition, the lawsuit alleges that CU’s ban is so broad it violates the Colorado Constitution, which protects the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. The student plaintiffs, adults who are trained and licensed to carry a handgun nearly everywhere in Colorado, argue that the CCA gives them the right to carry a handgun on campus. Given the Virginia Tech tragedy, as well as shootings at Northern Illinois University and New Life Church in Colorado Springs, campuses are exactly where students who qualify under Colorado’s CCA believe they need to be able to carry firearms.

Mountain States Legal Foundation, founded in 1977, is a nonprofit, public-interest legal foundation dedicated to individual liberty, the right to own and use property, limited and ethical government, and economic freedom. Its offices are in suburban Denver, Colorado.



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