The University of Colorado Student Government reversed a previous decision Thursday night and voiced its support for a long-standing campus gun ban.
After student criticism during a Legislative Council meeting, government leaders voted 9-8 to reject an advisory bill that would have encouraged regents to let a court decision allowing concealed weapons on campus stand.
Even though CUSG lacks authority to change the gun ban, the motion was intended for students to express their opinions to school administrators.
Two weeks ago on the measure’s first reading, the legislative council passed it 7-6 with two members abstaining and two absent.
The CU regents will decide Friday whether to appeal a previous court ruling, which found the university gun ban was in violation of state laws.
Gregory Carlson, an arts and sciences senator who wrote the advisory motion, said he wanted to give CUSG and the student body a voice and a stance to pass along to the regents.
But his plan went awry after students began criticizing the bill during a public forum.
“I feel that the constitution and liberty don’t matter when you’re dead,” said junior Kristine Gutierrez. “It’s not about having rights — it’s about safety.”
More than 10 people, including students and cost center representatives, spoke during the open forum portion of the meeting.
Barbara Kulton, director of the CU Women’s Resource Center, said safety concerns are heightened, especially for women, when guns are present.
“A woman is more apt to be harmed or killed by her own gun than for her to defend herself,” Kulton said. “It’s putting women at even greater risk.”
Though the majority of speakers favored the gun ban, others debated that student’s safety would increase if they were allowed to carry guns.
Colby Kamin, a CU junior and supporter of the legislation, said it’s not about putting more guns on campus, but allowing properly trained individuals to practice their right to bear arms.
“If you have training in gun use, like a concealed carry class, you are less likely to have an accident or harm someone unintentionally,” Kamin said.
Some disagreed with the legislation because it does not complement the “peaceful” environment that is promoted on campus, said Alyssa Bamonti, a junior and co-director of legislative affairs for CUSG.
“Not all of us in CUSG agree with the legislation,” Bamonti said. “It just has to be a majority among the leg council.”
Carlson, who co-authored the bill with CUSG Representative-at-Large Rodrigo Gonzalez, said he wanted to protect students’ rights to defend themselves on and off campus.
“It seems odd to me that a college campus is one of the few places where a criminal or rapist or attacker gets a government guarantee that none of his victims will be armed,” Carlson said.
The Intercampus Student Forum — which represents students on all CU campuses, as well as the Boulder Faculty Assembly — has formally voiced support for CU’s current weapons ban.