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Regents vote to appeal gun ruling

BOULDER – The University of Colorado Board of Regents this morning narrowly voted to appeal a court decision allowing concealed weapons on campus, following the recommendation of CU President Bruce Benson, who – despite his support of concealed carry laws – said guns don’t belong in the hands on campus.

Just before the 5-4 regent vote, Benson talked about how he got his first gun when he was five. Still, he said: “I do not believe we should be having any kid with weapons on campus.”

Judges with the Colorado Court of Appeals in April ruled in favor of a gun-rights group that sued CU, arguing that a 1994 university policy banning concealed weapons violates state gun laws, according to the Daily Camera.

The vote was along party lines, except for Tilman “Tillie” Bishop, R-Grand Junction, who voted in favor of appealing the ruling. Voting against the appeal on the grounds that CU should follow federal law when it comes to the right to keep and bear arms, were Republicans: Tom Lucero, Chairman Steve Bosley, Jim Geddes and Kyle Hybl.

Geddes rolled out National Rifle Association statistics showing that people with concealed weapons are some of the nation’s most law-abiding citizens. He also cited a crime rate at Colorado State University that dropped 61 percent between 2002 and 2008 when concealed weapons were allowed on the Fort Collins campus. He said during those same years, crime rose 37 percent on CU’s Boulder campus, where guns are banned.

The remainder of the regents, all Democrats except for Bishop, argued that the court decision overstepped the regents’ constitutionally appointed role to set policies governing health and safety issues on its campuses.

“If we were not to appeal, we would be abdicating that authority, Regent Joe Neguse said.

Regent Steve Ludwig, who also said he owned guns, said the prospect of guns getting into dorms where students might be using drugs or alcohol is “a horrifically bad idea.”

Prior to the vote, the regents also heard testimony from a handful of people supporting gun rights on campus, who argued that a person who goes through the process of becoming a registered gun owner, is not a threat, and a Boulder woman, who argued against guns on campus, relating the story of her parents’ murder by a mentally ill uncle.

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