Emphatic Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden -- the target of new complaints from Balloon Boy lawyer David Lane about restitution charges -- is the latest to join the fight to prevent a gun ban at Colorado State University, which previously allowed concealed weapons on campus for those with permits. The sheriff says he won't jail those who break the school's ban, reports the Fort Collins Coloradoan.
The CSU Board of Governors, which oversees campuses in Fort Collins and Pueblo, is expected to adopt a ban of concealed weapons February 23, but not with the support of many students and now, along with Alderden, The Rocky Mountain Gun Owners Club.
On its face, the resistance to a gun ban sounds, well, like something a crazed second amendment group -- or a slap happy sheriff -- might do. But considering the reality of campus safety, the opposition might not be so nutty.
According to the safety training video used by many universities nationwide, including both CSU safety programs, active shooter scenarios require students and professors -- not campus police -- to be the first response.
"The bottom line is: You'll have to take direct responsibility for your personal safety and security," one police officer says in Shots Fired: When Lightening Strikes, which is produced by Washington state based Center for Personal Protection and Safety.
The training video, which compares the likelihood of a campus shooting to being struck by lightning, goes on to say many school shootings are finished before police can respond -- so it's up to those in the classrooms to take action.
In that case, maybe having a few trained and certified marksmen in a school building isn't that scary a thought -- even when Alderden is saying it. That's the thinking behind opposition to CSU's proposed gun ban. The alternative, as the video suggests: Throw books or bags and attempt to overcome the shooter.
Now, statistics on this are slim to none. But on a purely bullets-to-books comparison, bullets probably have a higher kill rate. Just a hunch. Plus, those books are damn expensive.
So as CSU, the last of only a few schools nationally to allow concealed weapons, moves to become "consistent with the best practices of other colleges and Universities," the taking of the first responders' most effective defense might not be a move toward campus safety, but rather a move toward political safety.
Political move or not, Alderden's threat not to jail those in violation might just have more meat to it than the ban itself.
The weapon ban draft, which concluded that the campus would be safer without any guns, isn't readily enforceable under Colorado law. According to the draft, CSU campus police are charged with enforcing the ban by -- get this -- writing trespassing citations and/or removing violators from campus.
Nothing in the ban says anything about the Larimer County Sheriff's office -- so in this case, Alderden is probably telling the truth.
Grandstanding aside, let's face it: A person planning to unload on civilians is unlikely to take the time, spend the money and complete the training to comply with the school's concealed weapons policy.
But maybe the threat of misdemeanor trespassing will do the trick. Or perhaps a gun-wielding mad-man registry would be more effective. Let's start with Alderden.