The University of Colorado needs to decide whether it should continue the legal battle to keep guns off its campuses. The regents won't take a formal vote but will meet with university attorneys behind closed doors on June 24. While the board's four Democrats oppose concealed-carry on campus, the five Republicans don't have a solid consensus.
Tom Lucero, R-Berthoud, said: "I've always supported repealing the concealed-carry ban."
Jim Geddes, R-Sedalia, has said he personally supports concealed-carry on campus and that CU's policy is in conflict with Colorado law.
Steve Bosley, R-Broomfield, told Channel 7 last year: "Had a female student from Boulder call me two years ago ... said, 'You're depriving me ... and when I leave the campus at 1 a.m. in the morning to go into the city of Boulder, you've deprived me of my right to protect myself.' That's an emotional, logical argument. Times are changing."
Kyle Hybl, R-Colorado Springs, was endorsed by the Pikes Peak Firearm Coalition -- a gun-rights group --when he was running for regent in 2006. Hybl is reported in the Colorado Springs Gazette in 2008 as saying he has a "bias" for the Second Amendment but that same year told "Face the State" the board likely wouldn't take up the gun issue because it's "too polarizing."
Tillie Bishop, R-Grand Junction, says he doesn't want to "make a battle" out of the gun issue, and wants to have a conversation with his fellow regents before making a decision.
The University of Colorado regents next week will decide whether the school should continue its legal battle to keep guns off its campuses, which could prove to be a litmus test for Republican board members who hold a 5-4 majority.
Only two of the board's conservatives -- regents Tom Lucero and Jim Geddes -- have made firm statements in favor of lifting the ban to allow students and employees with concealed-carry permits to pack heat on CU's campuses.
The other three Republican regents, who could tip the board's opinion, are more guarded on whether they'll urge CU to defend its current weapons ban or side with their GOP colleagues.
Judges with the Colorado Court of Appeals in April ruled in favor of a gun-rights group that sued CU and argued that a 1994 university policy banning concealed weapons violates state gun laws. CU leaders will meet next week behind closed doors with attorneys about whether they'll appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court.
Lucero said that since he was elected in 1998, there hasn't been a strong majority on the board willing to reverse CU's gun ban.
"I've always supported repealing the concealed-carry ban," Lucero said. "I've always thought it was unconstitutional. We can avoid litigation if we just do the right thing. We wouldn't have these legal issues to contend with. That is -- and always has been -- my position."
The board will not take a formal vote on whether the university should appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court.
"The attorneys do want to get a sense from the board," said CU system spokesman Ken McConnellogue.
The university's legal team will leave the June 24 meeting with direction on whether they should appeal to the higher court, with the deadline to do so at the end of June.
McConnellogue said the university has not hired outside legal counsel or conducted depositions to defend itself in the lawsuit.
"We haven't spent beyond our normal legal expenditures," he said.
Geddes said he supports the state's concealed-carry law and that CU's policy conflicts with it.
But, he said, there are other considerations -- including board autonomy -- that could dictate how he'll swing.
"It's not a clear-cut issue," he said Wednesday.
Colorado's community colleges last month decided to repeal a policy that banned concealed weapons. The decision was in response to the appeals court ruling against CU's ban. Colorado State University -- which has campuses in Pueblo and Fort Collins -- decided to continue its policy of allowing concealed-carry permit holders to bring guns on the campuses.
CU Regent Steve Bosley, R-Broomfield, declined to reveal his position and said he wants to hear from the school's attorneys before making a decision.
"We've got to look at the law and follow the law," Bosley said Wednesday.
In 2009, Bosley told Channel 7: "Had a female student from Boulder call me two years ago ... said, 'You're depriving me ... and when I leave the campus at 1 a.m. in the morning to go into the city of Boulder, you've deprived me of my right to protect myself.' That's an emotional, logical argument. Times are changing."
Attorneys for the gun-rights group pointed to the Concealed Carry Act of 2003, a state law that prohibits local governments from adopting an ordinance to limit state concealed-carry rights. In April's opinion, the judges wrote that the Concealed Carry Act applies to universities.
The ruling revives the lawsuit that had been dismissed last spring by El Paso County District Judge G. David Miller, who said he found nothing in the state constitution that would stop CU from ordering a campus gun ban.
Kyle Hybl, R-Colorado Springs, said he's waiting to hear the board's full discussion.
"That will help inform my opinion," he said Wednesday.
The Pikes Peak Firearm Coalition -- a gun-rights group -- endorsed Hybl when he was running for regent in 2006.
Hybl is reported in the Colorado Springs Gazette in 2008 as saying he has a bias for the Second Amendment but in 2008 told "Face the State" -- a conservative political blog -- the board likely wouldn't take up the gun issue because it's "too polarizing."
Regent Tillie Bishop, R-Grand Junction, says he doesn't want to "make a battle" out of the gun issue, and wants to have a conversation with his fellow regents before making a decision.
The board's Democrats have supported the current weapons policy.
Regent Joe Neguse, D-Boulder, said CU's longstanding weapons policy is a "reasonable approach that keeps our students and staff and faculty safe."
Contact Camera Staff Writer Brittany Anas at 303-473-1132 or email@example.com.