December 2008: Representatives of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus announce the filing of a lawsuit, asking the court to strike down the University of Colorado's concealed-weapon ban. The Colorado Springs chapter of the Students for Concealed Carry on Campus argued that gun-free zones on college campuses translate into a ban on self-defense.
April 2009: An El Paso County district judge throws out the lawsuit filed by Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, allowing the university's three campuses to continue to ban concealed weapons.
April 2010: The Colorado Court of Appeals rules in favor of the gun-rights group.
June 2010: The CU regents decide in a close vote that the school will continue the legal fight to keep guns off its campuses. Regent Tillie Bishop, R-Grand Junction, sides with the Democrats for the 5-4 vote in support of appealing to the Colorado Supreme Court.
June 2011: Attorneys on both sides of CU's gun ban argue before the Colorado Supreme Court.
March 5: The Supreme Court rules that CU regents cannot ban guns from the campuses.
The state Supreme Court ruled Monday that the University of Colorado cannot ban concealed-weapon permit holders from bringing their guns to campus.
And while gun-rights activists are celebrating the ruling, CU says it discounts the regents' authority to govern safety on its campuses.
Colorado's highest court sided with Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, a gun-rights group that filed a lawsuit against CU in 2008, arguing that a university policy banning concealed weapons from its campuses violates state gun laws.
"It's a great victory for gun rights, and civil rights in general," said James Manley, the attorney with Mountain States Legal Foundation who represented the gun-rights group. "CU will now have to fall in line and follow the state law."
Colorado State University has allowed guns on its campus for a decade.
In his arguments, Manley pointed to the Concealed Carry Act of 2003, a state law that prohibits local governments
"The supreme court holds that the Concealed Carry Act's comprehensive statewide purpose, broad language, and narrow exclusions show that the General Assembly intended to divest the Board of Regents of its authority to regulate concealed handgun possession on campus," the court said in its ruling.
CU had argued that the regents are best fit to govern the university's campuses and that the act applies to cities and counties -- not CU's campuses.
Board of Regents chairman Kyle Hybl, R-Colorado Springs, said Monday the heart of the case was about the board's authority to govern CU.
"The university is disappointed its constitutional and statutory autonomy was not upheld in this instance," Hybl said.
Hybl said the board will get a briefing from legal counsel at its next meeting.
The law allows for those who are 21 or older, and who possess a concealed-weapon permit, to carry a weapon anywhere on the campus. CU's police department estimates that less than 1 percent of CU faculty members, staff members and students have concealed-weapon permits. Only 7 percent of students living on the campus are 21 or older.
It will be at least two weeks before guns are allowed on CU's campuses, according to university officials.
State Rep. Claire Levy, D-Boulder, said she thinks guns on campuses are a bad idea -- but there won't be any momentum in the Republican-controlled state House to change the law.
On Monday, Levy tweeted: "CU already has an unfortunate reputation as a party school where parties sometimes turn violent. Now it is a well-armed party school."
"It sets up a dangerous situation not only on CU's campuses, but on any college campus," she said in an interview.
Students have a mixed reaction to the ruling.
CU student Ben Rote said the right to bear arms on campus should be restricted to those who have concealed-weapon permits -- and that could ultimately keep the campus safer.
"Criminals don't pay attention to 'no gun' signs," he said.
CU student Sarang Khalsa said she believes constitutional rights should be upheld but is uneasy about Monday's ruling. Stress or heavy drinking could impair some people's decisions, she said.
The CU Board of Regents banned weapons in 1970 and, in 1994, strengthened the policy requiring that students be expelled and employees be fired if found guilty of using a weapon to "intimidate, harass, injure or otherwise interfere with the learning and working environment of the university."
In 2010, the CU regents voted 5-4 to appeal to the state's highest court in an effort to overturn a Colorado Court of Appeals decision that the university violated state law by banning concealed weapons from its campuses.
A slim majority of regents, at that time, said guns have no place on a college campus. Tillie Bishop, R-Grand Junction, sided with Democrats on the board in directing the school to appeal because he said the case goes beyond the issue of guns on campus and is about regents' authority to set rules for CU.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Brittany Anas at 303-473-1132 or firstname.lastname@example.org.