DENVER -- Gun-rights advocates won an important victory on Monday after the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that students and employees with concealed weapon permits can carry handguns on University of Colorado campuses, overturning a ban by the school's regents.
"We're disappointed in this instance that the State Supreme Court ruled that the regents don't have the statutory and constitutional authority to govern our campuses,” Ken McConnellogue, vice president of communications for CU, said. “We believe they are in the best position to make determinations about campus safety and the safety of our students, faculty, staff and visitors."
Gun-rights advocates had challenged the university policy that was adopted in 1994, arguing that the university's governing board had superseded state gun laws.
The justices agreed, noting that the state's concealed-carry law, passed by the state legislature, trumped the university's policy.
The court said state lawmakers had passed the concealed weapons law to provide a uniform statewide law because of "widespread inconsistencies" among jurisdictions about how to enforce gun laws.
"CU is going to have to fall in line and follow the state law just like Colorado State has been doing since 2003," said Jim Manley, an attorney for the Mountain States Legal Foundation, which represented Students for Concealed on Campus. "The problem with CU's argument is that Colorado State has been doing the opposite. They've been allowing licensed concealed carry on campus for almost a decade and they've had no problem, no safety issues."
The State Supreme Court decision remands the case back to a lower court and it may take several weeks before CU is forced to drop its ban.
Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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