Students for Concealed Carry on Campus v. Regents of the University of Colorado. Decided this morning by the Colorado Court of Appeals (a three-judge panel of Colorado’s intermediate appellate court). In brief: Colorado’s licensing statute for carrying a concealed handgun for lawful protection is explicitly preemptive. The University of Colorado bans concealed carry anyway, arguing that there is an implicit exception applicable to CU. The Mountain States Legal Foundation brings a suit on behalf of SCCC. The trial court dismisses for failure to state a claim. The Court of Appeals unanimously reverses the dismissal, and remands the case for further proceedings. The Court of Appeals holds that: 1. The statutory claim under the Concealed Carry Act should not have been dismissed, because there is no exemption for the University of Colorado. 2. The constitutional claim under the Colorado Constitution’s right to arms provision should not have been dismissed; the proper standard of review, under Colorado case law, is “reasonableness”, which is a higher standard than rational basis. The Court of Appeals expresses no opinion on the merits of the constitutional claim.
Congratulations to MSLF attorney Jim Manley!
UPDATE: Since the comments thread is mostly a discussion of empirical/policy issues, it is perhaps worth mentioning that the Court of Appeals opinion cites the two major relevant works on either side of the issue: the Brady Center’s monograph, and my article in Connecticut Law Review. The court adds that such questions are irrelevant to its decision-making, which seems to be the proper approach for a case that (for purposes of the Court of Appeals decision) involves statutory interpretation, plus articulation of the standard of review for the Colorado Constitution right to arms. Since the statutory interpretation issue basically resolves the case conclusively in favor of Students for Concealed Carry, the trial court on remand probably will not even need to reach the constitutional question. If for some reason the trial court does need to make a constitutional decision, then the court would need to consider empirical evidence and policy issues, as does any court applying any heightened form of review.