Terry Ryan, the lawyer for the Windsor-based Rocky Mountain Gun Owner's club, said today he is filing a lawsuit against Colorado State University after its governing board voted unanimously Tuesday to ban guns from its two campuses.
Affirming promises made earlier this month at a small-caliber news conference (see the video below), Ryan says, "I'm certain the policy is illegal, and we're going to challenge that in court. I think that the board was wrong for a lot of reasons. The board of governors doesn't even have the authority to do it."
But seeing as they seem to think they do have authority, Colorado might just have a gun fight on the horizon.
Among other school shootings, Ryan cites yesterday's shooting of two students at Deer Creek Middle School, which was stopped by a teacher. He maintains that when CSU enacts the policy that bars citizens with concealed-weapons permits from carrying guns in August, the school will be less safe for students, faculty and staff.
After all, will a gun-wielding mad-man hell bent on shooting up a classroom think twice about the school's gun policy? Ryan thinks not.
"Would Virginia Tech have happened the way it did if guns had been allowed on campus? I don't think so," he says. "I ask people all the time, 'Do you think Columbine would have happened if people had guns?' No. They would have been shot, and that's the end of it."
Many students who opposed the ban agreed with this line of thinking, while faculty rejected it. See an earlier post about the competing arguments.
Ryan also endorses comments against the ban made by Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden, now famous for his recent role in the Fort Collins "Balloon Boy" saga. "Crime is higher at CU in Boulder and at UNC, who have gun bans," Alderden said.
Although Ryan isn't sure exactly when the suit will be filed, he expects it to be soon, and he says he's confident the state will overturn the ban.
"[The board's state-given authority] doesn't say anything about enacting policy about the Second Amendment," he says. "CSU's Board of Governor's can't trump the state legislature. There's a lot of ways to attack this."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
CSU was one of the few remaining schools that didn't have such a ban, and as such, the board, in its order to the presidents of the campuses in Fort Collins and Pueblo, cited a desire to be more in line with the common practices of most universities.
The ban approved Tuesday does allow for Tasers, Mace or pepper spray at the Pueblo campus and less than one ounce of pepper spray at the Fort Collins campus. It also has exceptions for police officers and, in rare cases, permit holders who can show they're in imminent danger if they don't carry a weapon.
As the CSU board and its branches break for cover, it should be interesting to watch a good-old-fashioned political shoot out on our very own turf. Here's the aforementioned news conference video: