“Concealed Guns On Campus”

Colorado students exhibit nation’s divide on guns

Boulder, Colo. — The past history of school related shooters in Colorado has become an unfortunate reminder of the innocent lives firearms have taken. However, Colorado has been a state in debate over gun control laws with three new bills entering the 2016 Colorado legislature. The University of Colorado Boulder has mirrored the same divide over the nation’s gun control laws. Residents of Boulder county including Colorado students can register with the Boulder Sheriff’s department and obtain a concealed carry permit for around 150-200$ after a background check and a certificate showcasing completion of an official training course.

Students at the university are legally allowed to carry a firearm into their classroom as long as they have a permit. Lauren Moscarello, a senior at CU Boulder, explained her encounter with students with guns in class. Early October, not long after the police shot and killed a man wielding a machete, there was a false report of an “active harmer” near the University Memorial Center, prompting an evacuation through the universities text alert messaging which alerts most of the 50,000 students and faculty who signed up. Moscarello was in a full lecture hall when the alert went out, one student in the class stood up and asked “Who is packing?” three other students replied they were armed as well. Moscarello said, “it scares the s— out of me, that people can just have guns, I think that is just one of my biggest fears that anyone can have a gun and you have no idea.”

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, in a statistic on Firearm deaths in Colorado from 2005 through 2012, “4,431 people died in Colorado as a result of firearms. For all ages, firearm suicides outnumbered firearm homicides by nearly four to one.”  In the case of  homicide deaths by firearm, from 2005 to 2012 there was an average of 108 homicide deaths a year in Colorado. Moreover, homicide deaths in Colorado with available data surrounding the death, the largest factor was the result of an argument. Moscarello held similar views when she added, “[guns] escalate any situation, we could just be fighting, and say you had a gun,  you could pull a gun on me.”

Mary Vekasy, a patrol sergeant for the University of Colorado Police Department, said “CUPD support everyone’s second amendment rights, we would encourage people with [concealed carry weapons] to continue to train, get out to the range, put up some targets, fire a few rounds, and stay proficient with your handgun if you carry it.” When dealing with the possibility of an active shooter on campus, the department is trained to respond to any potential threat on campus, said Vekasy. “I never want to draw my gun in my line of duty, that is not something I look forward to, I don’t ever want to have to pull the trigger, but I want to be on equal footing if someone does bring a gun to the fight I appreciate having that for my own defense,” Vekasy said.

Concealed guns on a college campus like Colorado are still a hot seat for debate, given Colorado’s past with mass shootings and with the shooting that happened in Oregon. Firearms on campus have stayed deadlocked between guns lead to more violence, and guns are a natural right as a citizen to protect ourselves from danger.

Update – 23 April 2017 – Another unpublished article I did on the concealed carry laws in CU Boulder last year. The article spoke a lot on the issue and how divided people are still on gun control especially today.