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Voters could decide issue of concealed weapons on college campuses

Group gets permission from state to place question on November ballot

Voters Could Decide Issue of Guns on College Campuses

PUEBLO, Colo. - Several gun control supporters are bypassing state lawmakers this year in an effort to ban the carrying of concealed weapons on college and university campuses.

In Denver on Thursday, a group received permission from the Colorado Secretary of State's office to start the process of placing the question on the November ballot.  The group next must collect 86,000 petition signatures by June.

The Denver Post reports that Heather Coogan, former Littleton police chief, and Ken Toltz, parent of college students and former adjunct professor at the University of Denver's Daniels College of Business, are behind the effort.

Last year, the legislature discussed but ultimately did not approve a campus concealed-weapons ban.  Colorado and Utah are the only states that have such a ban for public colleges.

The Pueblo County Sheriff's Office has provided security since 2005 for the campus of Colorado State University-Pueblo.  Undersheriff J.R. Hall said a ban would be difficult to enforce.

"There's no (single) entry point on a campus," he said.  "There's diverse student and teaching bodies.  You have multiple buildings.  Would there be metal detectors and searches?  No.  A ban would just cover what people think might happen."

Gun control supporters argue that the absence of a ban would make campuses less safe because incidents like accidental discharges would be more likely.  However, gun control opponents disagree, saying that the minimum age limit of 21 for acquiring a concealed permit makes irresponsible gun use less likely.

Hall said his office will enforce a ban if voters approve it.

Officials at Colorado College, the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak Community College were unavailable Thursday to discuss how a ban might affect security at those campuses.

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