Number of students using new CU-Boulder rule allowing guns in some housing units: Zero

A new rule at CU-Boulder allowing concealed-carry-permit holders to have guns in some family housing units has gotten a lot of attention in recent weeks from different news outlets.

But despite all the coverage, and with the fall semester under way, no students are taking advantage of the policy.

Here's the policy change announced earlier this month, as it relates to housing: The contracts for a number of family housing units have been amended to allow concealed-carry-permit holders to have guns there as long as they meet university requirements for storing them safely. Dorms are off-limits for guns, so students could take advantage of this policy by applying to live in one of those family housing units where their weapons would be allowed.

But so far, no one has actually done that.

Bronson Hilliard, a spokesman for CU-Boulder, says that as of last Friday, the latest information available, no student had applied to live in a family housing unit instead of a dormitory through the policy.

Not all of the reports about the policy have been accurate. Indeed, some have referred to the housing units in question as "segregated dorms" for students with guns. But misinformation aside, it isn't too surprising that no one has jumped on this rule change. As we noted in our last post, individuals must be 21 to have one of these permits, and most students who live in the dorms are younger.

In fact, Hilliard tells us, 96 percent of dorm residents are under the age of 21, and of the 4 percent who are 21 or older, about a third are resident advisers. And an overwhelming majority of those in the dorms, which are exclusively undergraduate residences, are freshmen and sophomores.

"We've never anticipated this would be a large number of people that would take advantage of this," Hilliard says.

Although Hilliard doesn't have an exact total for the family housing units the policy could affect, he says a number have been made available to accommodate interested students as needed. He also points out that the university has no way of knowing whether students have concealed-carry permits and would only find that information out if a student applied for family housing units specifically to take advantage of this policy. He says CU would not reveal when students have applied because it would violate their privacy -- and the university wouldn't even give out specific numbers if students were to apply. After all, it could be such a small group of individuals that it might be fairly easy for reporters or others to figure out their identities.

Still, he confirms that there have been no applicants yet.

Classes started yesterday and students began moving in last Tuesday, but in the first two weeks or so of school, Hilliard says housing can sometimes shuffle around a bit as the university finalizes arrangements.

This policy change is part of a larger shift in gun rules on campus in response to a Colorado Supreme Court ruling in March ordering CU to allow concealed-carry-permit holders to have guns on campus. But CU has nixed weapons at football games, concerts and other ticketed events, because those are considered "contractual" and thus have different standards.

The university has emphasized that it does not want to discriminate against concealed-carry holders and recently affirmed that students with concealed-carry permits can have guns in class even if some professors might prefer a weapons ban.

"We have a special obligation as an institution to follow the law," Hilliard says.

More from our Education archive: "CU-Boulder allows guns in family housing units, CSU says no"

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