Colorado students fight for gun rights

University's bid to prevent Virginia-style rampage is stalled by campus opposition

What seemed like common sense to some is nothing less than an assault on the US Constitution to others, which is why a governors meeting at Colorado State University today to approve a ban on students bearing concealed weapons on its main campus in Fort Collins is likely to be rowdy.

Preventing bloodshed is the first thing on the board's mind. It is three years since the shooting rampage at Virginia Tech that took the lives of 32 students and staff and just under two weeks since Amy Bishop, a professor at the University of Alabama, allegedly shot six of her colleagues, killing three of them.

Yet there has been such a push-back against the plan that the board may defer a decision today to await further public comment. The proposed change in the rules has reignited emotions about the place of guns in American culture. It is a debate that gets snarled in the conflicting logic of gun ownership rights and the simple notion that bullets and blackboards don't mix.

State law allows citizens to carry concealed weapons as long as they have a permit. And many of the 22,000 students at the Fort Collins campus say they should not be treated differently from ordinary Coloradans. In December, the students' governing body voted overwhelmingly to resist the gun ban.

Gun right groups are keen to support the students. The Rocky Mountain Gun Owners has warned that imposition of the ban would be met by a lawsuit. And the local sheriff said he would never jail a student for breaking the ban because state and federal law comes before campus law.

Since the Virginia shootings, state legislatures across the US have debated a variety of laws concerning guns in lecture halls, but few have taken significant action. The most recent big change came in Utah in 2004, which voted to lift a decades-old gun ban for the 44,000-strong University of Utah.

Whenever a change in the rules is discussed, national groups rush in with their agendas. On Friday, the Colorado board of governors received a petition from Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC), a group that says young scholars stand a better chance of surviving the kind of rampage that occurred in Virginia if – as it were – they pack a pistol in their pencil case.

"You know, there's a saying: 'When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.' If there was a concealed-carry permit holder nearby, it's possible that a couple lives might've been saved," Tim Campbell, a Fort Collins student and SCCC member, told a local TV channel.

On the other side of the argument is Gun Free Kids, an organisation that began a "Keep Guns off Campus" campaign two years ago in response to the Virginia slaughter. It deploys research from law enforcement groups that suggests that there is no correlation between gun-toting citizens and lowered rates of violence. The group also says that there are few places where guns should be less welcome than on campuses. "With binge-drinking, drug use and the pressures that college students are under, we just think introducing guns into that environment, it's the wrong thing to do," said campaign director Andy Pelosi.

Gun control is especially contentious in the American West with its frontier history, but Brad Bohlander, a spokesman for the Fort Collins campus, said that they would merely be falling into line with restrictions in force in the vast majority of American universities.

"It really came down to two general issues, number one: best practices, just looking at what other universities are doing, and very, very few outside of the state of Utah allow concealed weapons on campus," he said recently. "The second is risk management, and it really comes down to this university is responsible for managing risk on this campus of the students."

Sport
footballLIVE City face Stoke, while Warnock returns to Palace dugout
Arts and Entertainment
books
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior VB.NET Application Developer (ASP.NET, SQL, Graduate)

£28000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior VB.NET ...

C# .NET Web Developer (ASP.NET, JavaScript, jQuery, XML, XLST)

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...

Clinical Negligence Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...

Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF, BGP, Multicast, WAN)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone