In Sen. Pat Steadman’s most recent blog post, the Joint Budget Committee Chairman sets his sights on law abiding Colorado gun owners, citing what he calls a slate of “gun safety legislation” introduced by several Democratic lawmakers. One bill in particular that has caught Steadman’s eye is HB 1226, which would criminalize concealed carry permit holders who wish to carry on college campuses. As the state’s law is currently written, a person with a concealed weapon permit may carry in all areas of the state, with the exception of certain areas that are excluded by statute. HB 1226 would add college campuses to the list of carve outs under this law.
It’s unclear how creating a “gun free zone,” as was the case in the Virginia Tech massacre, will somehow make things safer for Colorado college students. This administrative measure would in no way hinder someone intent on doing harm from going through with an unspeakable atrocity. Sadly, it would do just the opposite: create an environment where someone intent on committing an act of violence could expect little or no resistance to his actions.
For centuries, the open atmosphere on American college campuses has been a hallmark of our higher education system, and a critical element to the free exchange of ideas that has made our system the envy of the world. A byproduct of this openness is that a criminal can easily take advantage of this circumstance. Professionals in the security industry have a term for environments such as college campuses: soft targets. HB 1226 would do nothing more than make a soft target an even softer one, and that is a mandate that that no Coloradan should accept.