Colorado Regents Could Repeal Campus Carry After 'Staunch Second Amendment Supporter' Calls for Ban

AP Photo/John Mone

This might be the most egregious case of "I'm a Second Amendment supporter, but..." that I've ever seen. 

Wanda James wears a lot of hats in Colorado. She's the co-founder and CEO of a marijuana dispensary in Denver, owner of a "virtual" gun range called 1770 Solutions, and one of the newest members of board of regents for the University of Colorado system. 

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She's also pushing for her fellow regents to revisit the system's campus carry policies and ban lawful gun owners from carrying on campus going forward; overturning a 12-year-old policy that has posed no issues. 

“I’ve been a regent now for a little over a year and almost every meeting we have stepped in, we have had students, faculty or staff asking us to take up this motion,” James said. “It is difficult for me as a regent to sit down and to see so many people asking me or asking us to make changes in their house and then not at least having the conversation to make changes.”

The Board of Regents, the elected board that oversees all CU campuses, is charged with making decisions about the university’s concealed carry policy. CU’s existing policy allows people over 21 and with a valid permit to possess concealed firearms on any campus, except in residence halls and special event zones like sporting events and concerts.

When proposing the policy changes, James said she is the only regent who is a military veteran and founded a gun range that trains people who are applying for concealed weapons permits. 

“That being said, I am a staunch Second Amendment supporter,” James said. “But like all things, I don’t believe that all things should be in all places all the time, and if there is any place where we should be able to agree that we don’t need the presence of guns, it’s in higher ed.”

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I suggest James talk to Amanda Collins-Johnson to get her perspective on why it's important to be able to protect yourself on campus. If she can't get ahold of Collins-Johnson herself, she could always check out the interview I did with Amanda back in 2013, when Colorado lawmakers were attempting to repeal campus carry. 

Amanda was a student at the University of Nevada-Reno in 2007 when she was attacked and sexually assaulted in a campus parking garage as she was walking to her car after class. She would have had her carry gun with her, but the policy at UNR at the time forbade anyone from carrying on campus without the express permission of campus officials; permission that was granted to Collins after she was raped and the suspect was still on the loose... but denied to virtually every other student who might have come the rapist's next target. 

Amanda could see the line of campus police cars when she was grabbed by a stranger and pulled down to the cold concrete surface of the parking garage that night, but she knew that no officers would be coming to save her because they were all off-duty. 

I want Wanda James to think of the students and staff at the University of Colorado who walk to their own cars at night, or who have to walk back to their off-campus apartments. Can James guarantee that they won't be the victim of a rapist, a stalker, a carjacker, or a robber? Of course not. So why does she believe they should be allowed to carry for self-defense so long as it's not on a college campus? 

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The University of Colorado-Colorado Springs was recently rocked by tragedy when two people were shot and killed in an on-campus apartment, allegedly by a student who violated the school's campus carry policies. If James and her fellow regents do repeal campus carry, that won't stop violent individuals from carrying out attacks like this. It will only prevent potential victims from being allowed to protect themselves. 

As a staunch Second Amendment supporter, James should be well aware of the impotent nature of "gun-free zones". Does she honestly think that university campuses in Colorado will be safer if concealed carry holders are barred from exercising their Second Amendment rights? If so, what is it about a campus that turns a responsible gun owner into an untrustworthy actor? Why does she believe these folks are just fine carrying across the street from the UC-Boulder campus, but not on the campus itself?  

I've reached out to James with an invitation to join me on an upcoming Bearing Arms' Cam & Co, and I hope that I'm able to ask her these questions directly. In the meantime, Colorado residents should be contacting both regents and their state legislators, because the regents aren't the only ones trying to take away the right to carry on campus. Colorado Democrats have introduced their own campus carry ban as part of SB24-131, which would create more than a dozen "gun-free zones" across the state. 

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The right to carry is under attack in Colorado, and staunch Second Amendment supporters should be raising their voices in opposition, not leading the charge to disarm lawful gun owners. 

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