Reviving one of the few gun control bills killed in the Democratic-controlled Colorado state legislature last year, a citizen’s initiative would ask voters to ban concealed weapons on college campuses.
Safe Campus Colorado is hoping to collect more than 86,000 signatures to see the measure on the 2014 ballot, citing a 2012 poll that shows 65 percent of Coloradans favor making campuses gun-free, even for those licensed to carry concealed.
“Concealed handguns on college campuses threaten the safety and peace of mind of parents, students, teachers and staff — and we don’t want our state to become known for any more tragic mass shootings,” said Ken Toltz, founder of Safe Campus Colorado, in a press release.
“This initiative gives Coloradans an opportunity to have their voices heard on keeping concealed handguns off our great colleges and universities,” he said. “All schools should be safe places to learn and work, free of the threat posed by concealed guns.”
But a study by Quinnipiac University economics professor Mark Gius found that states with more restrictive concealed carry laws have significantly higher murder rates.
“[T]he results of the present study indicate that states with more restrictive CCW laws had gun-related murder rates that were 10 percent higher,” the study concluded. “These results suggest that, even after controlling for unobservable state and year fixed effects, limiting the ability to carry concealed weapons may cause murder rates to increase.”
The study was published in the journal Applied Economic Letters in November. It also allowed that the higher murder rate could be attributable to other factors, such as higher overall crime and loopholes in existing laws. It stated that further research is necessary, but that the findings are consistent with research done by others in 1997.
Toltz emailed Gius about his study and forwarded their exchange to The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Gius reiterated to Toltz that his study “does not establish any causal link” between restrictive CCW laws and higher rates of gun-related murders.
In an email to TheDCNF Toltz wrote that Gius “agree[s] with our supporters that concealed guns on college campuses would be a major distraction to the learning and working environment.”
“That is why most every private Colorado college and university already have strict rules against any guns on campus, regardless of concealed carry permit,” Toltz wrote. “We believe that public colleges and university campuses should be equally safe from the threat of concealed guns.”
The concealed carry ban was one of the more contentious pieces of legislation debated in Colorado last year during a session dominated by new gun laws. The bill’s sponsor pulled it before it came up for floor vote.
Colorado and Utah are the only states that do not restrict where concealed weapons can be carried on public university campuses, according to the website Armed Campuses. Five other states allow concealed weapons on campus by law, but also allow schools to limit where they may be carried.
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