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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Young people are not exactly renowned for their judgment.

We are, after all, talking about an age group that has to be told it is a bad idea to text while doing 70. Or drink alcohol till it spews from your nostrils. Or wear a T-shirt and flip-flops to interview for an office job.

So no, judgment is not their forte. Yet even they have enough sense to steer clear of the gun dorm.

You haven’t heard about the gun dorm? Well, back in August, the University of Colorado announced it was segregating students with valid concealed-carry permits in dorms of their own on its campuses in Boulder and Colorado Springs. This, after the state Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that struck down the school’s ban on people bringing guns on campus. So now, a student 21 years or older who has a permit may be armed in the dorm or even in class, though not, for some reason, at a school event requiring a ticket.

Recently, the Denver Post decided to count the number of young gunslingers who wanted to live among their own. How many kids had rushed to take advantage of this opportunity?

Let’s just say there is not a waiting list. The Post reports the number of kids who opted for the gun dorm is zero. A big, fat goose egg.

The paper speculated on a few reasons for this: maybe there are not enough students with carry permits who live on campus; maybe students with such permits find it more convenient just to sneak their guns into the old dorm.

OK. But isn’t it also possible at least some of this preference for unleaded dorms reflects a happy outbreak of simple sanity? Is it too much to hope at least some students recognize — as the court did not — that an environment full of immature judgment, poor impulse control, overactive hormones, sexual rivalries, drug use and binge drinking is perhaps, not the best place to introduce weapons of mass destruction?

One keeps thinking that surely there has to be some middle ground that balances the rights of responsible adults to own firearms with the need of a society to ensure that people who ought not have access to them are denied. But we will never get there so long as the debate is dominated by the sort of extremism Colorado exemplifies.