Teachers weigh in on campus weapons

DAVID WUERTH/THE ARBITER

In March, the Idaho House of Representatives passed a bill allowing concealed weapons on Idaho campuses but it was killed in the Senate. Rep. Erik Simpson, who introduced the bill said he isn’t sure whether or not he’ll reintroduce it in 2012.

Last March, Boise State’s faculty Senate voted unanimously in support of policy 1080 in order to keep firearms off campus.

The policy states, “The possession, wearing, carrying, transporting, or use of a firearm or other dangerous weapon, incendiary device, or explosive is strictly forbidden on university owned or controlled premises or vehicles.”

Assistant Professor of Instructional & Performance Technology/COEN Anthony Marker, P.h.D, is a former member of the National Rifle Association (NRA) with an instructor rating as well as an Army National Guard infantry officer ranked as an expert with a rifle.

“… I have a passing familiarity with firearms,” Marker said.

He is against guns on campus for two reasons. He said he feels faculty members would leave and go teach at a gun-free campus and he believes the university is a place for free exchange of ideas and concealed weapons on campus could jeopardize that goal.

“Having more un-uniformed people waving guns around or, God forbid, slinging bullets, in an environment chock-full of innocent bystanders would make it even more difficult for law enforcement officers to respond swiftly and accurately to a violent incident,” Marker said.

Gary Christensen, member of the Arizona State Rifle and Pistol Association and an affiliate of NRA, has a different viewpoint. He said he believes someone who has been through an FBI background check and firearms safety training, a requirement of a concealed weapons permit, isn’t someone who should be feared.

“Why wouldn’t a student or faculty member feel comfortable sitting next to a student who is armed?” Christensen asked. His point is there is essentially no difference between university property and the coffee shop across the street, yet, citizens are allowed to carry their concealed weapons there.

Troy Rohn, P.h.D., faculty senate member and professor of biological sciences recognizes citizens’ rights to bear arms, but supports Boise States current “no firearms” policy.

“As a faculty member, we are interacting with students in a stressful environment, where a single grade may determine whether or not they can gain acceptance into a graduate school or professional school setting,” Rohn said. “It is my opinion that such a law would completely change the entire student-faculty interaction, in a negative manner.

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About the author  ⁄ Kimberley O'Bryan