Colorado Fights to Keep Campuses Gun-Free
As part of the ongoing effort to keep students safe from gun violence, the Colorado House passed a bill this week that would ban firearms from the state’s college campuses.
“Responsible folks who own guns, they support what I’m doing,” said state Rep. Rhonda Fields (D-District 42). “I have support from law enforcement. But most importantly I have the support of the families that have been impacted by gun violence.”
Tandem legislative measures included a requirement for background checks for all gun purchases and a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines, which come after the state Supreme Court ruled that a previous ban violated state law.
Colorado has found itself in the spotlight of the national debate over gun violence prevention in the wake of highly publicized mass shootings at Columbine High School and an Aurora movie theater.
Though pro-gun advocates fought the new proposals, the bills passed through the Colorado House and will now move on to the state Senate.
After the previous law banning guns on college campuses was overturned, the University of Colorado offered separate off-campus housing to students who wished to carry guns. No students chose to live in the special dormitory.
Though the bill has passed through one house of the state legislature, the administration at the University of Colorado has not taken a position on the proposal.
“On an issue such as this, our governing Board of Regents would have to provide direction as to whether we support the bill or not,” said Ken McConnellogue, Vice President of University Communication. “The board has not done so, and therefore, the university is not taking a position on the legislation.
And though the University of Colorado is hesitant to offer an endorsement for the gun ban, they do acknowledge the recent trend of gun violence and their commitment to protecting their students and staff.
“Regarding the effect of recent shootings,” said McConnellogue, “the safety of our students, faculty, staff and visitors is among our top priorities, so it is something on our minds and in our activities every day.”
The legislation has drawn support from national figures including Vice President Joe Biden.
Kevin Jersey is a reporter for Campus Progress. Follow him on Twitter @wordsnotbullets.