Aug 17, 2012 8:19 PM by Andy Koen

Concealed on Campus: universities spell out gun policies

The right to keep and bear arms no longer ends at the university property line. As college students in our state head back to campus this fall, those with concealed carry permits can bring the weapons with them.

Although, at UCCS and all other University of Colorado campuses, those permit holders will need to keep their guns concealed. The CU Board of Regents policy prohibits the open display of guns and any other type of weapon.

Other restrictions extend to on campus housing. Permit holders will not be allowed to live in freshmen dormitories. Most traditional college freshmen are under the age of 21, meaning they couldn't apply for their concealed carry permit anyway. However, Susan Szpyrka, the senior associate vice chancellor, says permit holders can apply to live in other on campus housing facilities.

She also says the restriction doesn't apply to parents with permits. "If mom or dad has a concealed carry and they're in the Freshmen Village as a guest of their child, of their student, that's perfectly appropriate and perfectly fine," Szpyrka said.

Guns are also banned at large sports events and other ticketed gatherings. Reaction to the news among students is mixed. Some say it will make the campus safer.

Zach Pickard is full time student and an active duty soldier stationed at Fort Carson. He's also a concealed carry permit holder.

"Everyone who has permits is cleared, they've been trained," Pickard said. "They are more responsible than the average person, or they should be."

Sisters Lianne and Elise Koerner believe permit holders should have the right the carry, but it doesn't make them feel safer.

"I feel like when people have access to guns at any moment in time they could get into an argument and pull out the gun right away and I feel like it could lead to a lot more destruction than good," said Lianne, a criminal justice major. "However, I do think that people have the right and should have the right to carry concealed weapons, so I kind of go back and forth."

Elise says it's a little unnerving knowing that anyone on campus could be carrying a gun she wouldn't know it. "That being said, this campus is really safe and having the police officers everywhere, it's not a huge concern to me."

Mike Wallentin, an English major from Chicago, also feels that Colorado Springs is a safe community. "I think a student having a weapon won't necessarily affect too much ... the safety we feel we have on this kind of campus, as compared to where I'm coming from."

And Connor Underwood says he's weary of restrictions on our freedoms. "I don't think we should limit our rights, but we definitely should not put ourselves in harms way, you know, Colorado is a great place, we need to keep it safe."

The group Students for Concealed Carry advocates for 2nd Amendment rights on college campuses. They point out that more than 130 colleges in six states now allow concealed carry permits holders to bring their weapons on campus.

In a statement to News 5, spokesperson David Burnett praised the changes implemented at the University of Colorado System.

"Overall, Students for Concealed Carry is very pleased that CU-Boulder is now allowing students and faculty to participate in their own self-protection rather than rely on the goodwill of criminals rather than being discriminated against by a policy which only impacted the very people capable of making a difference in a threatening situation," Burnett said.

"We do have some concern about CU-Boulder creating a "separate but equal" environment by asking students to either disarm or relocate, but at the same time we recognize the college has many interests in play."

Cora Zalatel, the executive director for external affairs at Colorado State University-Pueblo says their campus will adhere to state statute governing weapons on campus.

"The residence halls and Walking Stick Apartments' Agreements do prohibit the possession of any weapon, even a weapon by someone with a concealed carry permit," Zalatel said. "We are currently examining the issue of weapon possession by person's with a concealed carry permit at university events."

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