Following the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling in March that the CU Board of Regents lacks the authority to regulate concealed weapons on campus under the Colorado Concealed Carry Act, and with added news coverage of related issues this week, we have prepared this Question & Answer page to provide further clarification on how the law works on the campus.
Q | What concealed carry guidelines are permit holders required to follow, to sufficiently conceal a weapon? What must a person do to obtain a concealed carry permit?
The law does not define what concealed means, but permit holders must make a reasonable attempt to keep the concealed weapon from view. There are a number of requirements to obtain a concealed carry permit in Colorado. These are covered in this Boulder County Sheriff’s Department Q&A, which is also linked at the bottom of this page: http://www.bouldercounty.org/safety/firearms/pages/cwpfaqs.aspx
Q | What weapons are covered under the concealed carry permit?
Only handguns are covered by the statute. A handgun is a pistol, revolver, or other firearm the length of the barrel which, not including any revolving, detachable, or magazine breech, does not exceed twelve inches. Other weapons – rifles, semi-automatic weapons, knives and other edged weapons – are still not permitted on campus.
Q | Who has the authority to ask an employee or student who is carrying a concealed weapon if he or she has the appropriate permit?
Anyone is permitted to ask, but the individual asked is not required to reply unless asked by a police officer.
Q | What does it mean to “brandish” a weapon? If someone is brandishing a weapon, what actions should be taken?
“Brandishing” is displaying a weapon in a threatening manner. If you see anyone brandishing a weapon, call the Police at “911” immediately and take precautions to protect yourself (i.e., evacuate the area or retreat behind a locked door, depending on the circumstances).
Q | What responsibility does a concealed carry permit holder have to keep his or her weapon absolutely concealed? Are they violating the terms of their permit if someone gets a glimpse of their weapon?
A person with a concealed carry permit must take reasonable measures to conceal the weapon. For example, if a person’s coat opens in the act of raising his or her arm to ask a question and a gun can be seen, it is not a violation. A violation would be a person taking a gun out of concealment or otherwise displaying/brandishing it.
Q | Can a student who legally possesses a concealed handgun be excluded from the classroom on the grounds that the student’s presence and his or her concealed weapon constitutes a class disruption?
No. The mere act of carrying a handgun (with a concealed carry permit as authorized by law) is not in and of itself a disruption of class activity. Concealed carry permit holders should not be excluded from class under any supposition that their presence alone is a “disruption.” Another person’s adverse reaction to someone carrying a handgun in accordance with the concealed carry act is not grounds to eject the permit-holder from the classroom.
Q | Can faculty ask a student who holds a concealed carry permit to report that status to them?
While faculty can ask a student who has a concealed carry weapon permit to report that status to them, or place in a course syllabus the request that students report this status to them, students are not required to provide this information to any faculty member. Any voluntary reporting of concealed carry permit status by a student to a faculty member should be done privately. Faculty should not, under any circumstances, coerce students into complying with their requests or pressure them to answer concealed carry queries.
Q | Can staff or student employees bring a concealed weapon to any service office, public venue or elsewhere on campus?
Yes, if they have a valid concealed carry permit and the weapon is carried in accordance with the law, i.e., concealed.
Q | Can a supervisor request a list of employees who have received a concealed carry permit?
No. This information is not a matter of public record.
Q | Are there certain areas of the campus where, due to the nature of the work and/or workspace, an employee or student would be prohibited from carrying a concealed weapon (e.g. lab with flammable chemicals, daycare centers, offices and treatment facilities like the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program, Counseling and Psychological Services, and Wardenburg Health Center)?
No. There are no “carve outs” under the statute for those who have a concealed carry permit. CU employees in these areas who have clients that hold concealed carry permits are free to ask their clients not to bring weapons into these environments, however, provision of care and resources cannot be conditioned upon compliance with the request, nor can the request be made in a coercive manner. Clients are also free to decline the request.
Q | Under what circumstances can a supervisor tell employees they cannot bring a concealed weapon into the office?
There are no circumstances in which issuing this kind of directive would be permitted. Appointing authorities and supervisors may ask all employees to voluntarily not bring legal concealed carry weapons into the workplace, but they cannot require it or otherwise coerce their employee(s) through the workplace relationship to comply with the request.
Q | Can employees bring a concealed weapon to a meeting (e.g. staff meetings, disciplinary meetings, performance coaching and evaluation meetings, trainings, campus resource consultations, interviews)?
Yes, if the employee has a valid concealed carry permit and the weapon is carried in accordance with the law, i.e., concealed. For assistance in any situation of concern, such as a performance review, please contact the Office of Human Resources at the link below.
Q | Are there any exceptions?
Q | If I see someone carrying a weapon on campus, should I call the police?
Yes, the safest course of action is to call the University of Colorado Police by dialing “911.” They will respond and make contact with an individual to determine if that person has a concealed carry permit and is carrying a weapon legitimately or brandishing it illegally. All concealed carry permit holders are required to carry their permits on their person if they are also carrying their weapon.
Q Can concealed carry permit holders bring their gun to a concert, athletic event or performance?
No. A condition of purchasing a ticket to these events at CU-Boulder is that the person agrees not to bring a weapon into the venue, even if that person has a valid concealed carry permit.
CU leadership remains very committed to maintaining a safe work and learning environment. We will not tolerate any threatening use of concealed carry weapons, or any other weapons. Please be aware that carrying a legal, concealed weapon is not, in and of itself, a disruptive or threatening act. While concealed permit holders may have familiarity and be at ease carrying a loaded weapon, we ask that they be aware that many people on our campus are not familiar with handguns and are uncomfortable in their presence.
Be advised that the campus is obliged to follow this law to the letter and is not at liberty to enact policies or provisions that violate it. Any changes to the law would have to come through the state legislative process. For more helpful resources on safety, law enforcement, and workplace issues, please visit:
University of Colorado Police Department Weapons page
Boulder County Sheriff’s Department Q&A on Concealed Carry
Department of Human Resources, Office of Labor Relations