Colorado group puts ballot measure against campus carry on back-burner

Campus carry is a hot-button issue in many states, but will not be on Colorado’s ballots this November. (Photo credit: Vicki Cronis-Nohe/AP)

Campus carry is a hot-button issue in many states, but will not be on Colorado’s ballot this November. (Photo credit: Vicki Cronis-Nohe/AP)

A Colorado gun-control group has shelved plans for a ballot measure to ban concealed carry on college campuses.

The group, Safe Campus Colorado, said that they have enough signatures collected by petition to add a proposed statutory amendment initiative to the upcoming general election ballot.

However, they are holding off due to the recent backlash against tougher gun laws in the state.

“It’s not forever,” said Ken Toltz, founder of Safe Campus Carry, to the Daily Camera this week. “It’s not a dead issue. It’s just for this election cycle, we made the really difficult decision that having the issue on the November ballot would likely have it be caught up in candidate campaigns and become a political football.”

The group’s initiative would prohibit the carry of concealed weapons by permit holders on land owned or controlled by public colleges and universities in the Centennial State. The only exception would be for land owned by state colleges used for hunting or other shooting sports.

Currently, Colorado law only restricts concealed carry from public elementary, middle, junior high and high schools.

The move comes after an embarrassing public gaffe by incumbent Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper over a series of gun-related statements in the warm up for this November’s election.

Further, polls show that Colorado voters not only oppose the new gun laws signed by Hickenlooper, but that the subject of guns in schools is gaining momentum.

A Quinnipiac University poll conducted in April found that 56 percent of likely Colorado voters oppose the state’s new gun-control laws and magazine limits while just over half supported allowing teachers and faculty to carry guns.

Second amendment scholars in the state see the move by Safe Campus Colorado to skip the upcoming election as a “huge victory” for gun rights.

“It’s eminently sensible and prudent for the Democratic establishment in Colorado in 2014 to say we don’t want a gun ballot issue out there,” Dave Kopel, adjunct professor of constitutional law at Denver University and research director at the Independence Institute, told Colorado Public Radio this week.

Kopel elaborated, saying, “Whatever happens with that ballot issue, it’s going bring more pro-gun voters to the polls and then once they are at the polls to vote on the gun issue, they will probably vote also in the candidate races for the more pro-gun candidates.”