Colorado Preemption Applies to State Universities

An Appeals Court in Colorado ruled that the University Board of Regents is subject to preemption, and has to honor State permits to carry. If you want to read the opinion, you can find it here. As the Appeals Court says, “Had the legislature intended to exempt universities [from preemption], it knew how to do so.” The Regents, in this case, seem to have taken up two main arguments, arguing that they were not a “local government” under the preemption law, and that the Colorado Concealed Carry Act didn’t divest them of any power to regulate the campus environment. The Appeals Court rejected both of these arguments:

As with their “local government” argument, the Regents’ “express divestiture” argument is undermined by section 18-12-214, which reflects the legislature’s intent to subject “all areas of the state,” except those specifically enumerated, to uniform regulation of concealed handgun carry.

Congratulations also to Dave Kopel, who was cited in this Appeals Court ruling as an example of the scholarly and public debate on this subject, alongside the Brady Campaign folks who were examples from the other side of the issue.

Another bit of good news in this ruling is that the Appeals Court rejected rational basis review for claims under Colorado’s right to keep and bear arms provision. While not forcing strict scrutiny, it did adopt a “reasonable exercise test” that was applied in a previous case, and is a form of intermediate scrutiny. The case is remanded the case back to lower court for consideration along that standard. It doesn’t seem anyone wants to come out and say strict scrutiny for the RKBA, which is a shame, but maybe we’ll get there.

This would appear, to me, to be a great victory for Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, who were the plaintiffs in this case. Lets hope this goes as well at the Colorado Supreme Court should the Regents decide to appeal.

Hat tip to Dave Hardy for the pointer.

4 thoughts on “Colorado Preemption Applies to State Universities”

  1. district court judge had dismissed the case, this appeals ruling undismisses it and sends it back to the same judge.

  2. Really excellent news. Amazing things happen when people follow the law. Hopefully this will start a trend in all states with preemption on the books.

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