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Despite opposition, campus gun bill approved by house panel

The day after roughly 150 Idahoans took to the Capitol steps in protest of SB 1254, a controversial law that would allow those with enhanced concealed weapons to carry firearms on Idaho college campuses, the bill was approved 11-3 by the House State Affairs Committee.

The campus gun bill now heads to the House to be voted on and if passed, will need Gov. Butch Otter’s signature to become Idaho law.

Legislators heard testimony from nearly 50 individuals Friday, Feb. 27, a process that took seven hours. A majority of individuals attending opposed the bill citing student safety, as well as the financial and perceived legal ramifications of SB 1254.

“There are social entertainment functions such as parties and dances within several university facilities that seat less than 1,000,” said Moscow Police Chief David Duke. “Consider the consequences of introducing a gun into this environment where 1,000 people are in a confined area with loud music, strobe lighting and then introduce alcohol and drugs and contemplate the resulting mayhem and life threatening chaos.”

Boise State student Kelby Monks disagreed with those in opposition to the bill, arguing preventative measures for school shootings should include allowing concealed weapons on Idaho campuses.

“Banks don’t spend their time and resources hiring good detectives to track down their money once it’s stolen. They spend large amounts of time and resources to prevent anyone from being able to take it. Shouldn’t we have the same reasoning when discussing human lives?” Monks said.

Boise State President Bob Kustra spoke in opposition to SB 1254 and fielded questions from house members.

“Currently the way the Constitution reads, I think open carry is allowed on your campus and currently you should not even be restricting open carry on your campus,” said Rep. Brent Crane (R-Nampa).

Kustra said Boise State’s lawyers interpret Idaho’s Constitution differently.

“We simply don’t agree with that. My legal counsel tells me that’s not the case,” Kustra said.

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About Ryan Thorne (104 Articles)
Ryan Thorne was born and raised in the beautiful city of Twin Falls, Idaho. He now lives in Boise where he enjoys being a student at Boise State University. As the Investigative News editor, Thorne is always hot on the trail of the next big story. In his free time, he can be found playing the guitar, reading, or exploring scenic outdoor Idaho. Follow him on Twitter @ryanthorne86 or friend him on Facebook.
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1 Comment on Despite opposition, campus gun bill approved by house panel

  1. For the senate testimony their complaints were not everyone got to speak, now their complaint is they weren't part of the process. I listened to the whole testimony and I would say that the fore to against ratio was 1:3 favoring the against. So after refuting all of the excuses everyone had against the bill in stepped the argument that this bill allows for open carry on the campus as well. At no point did the bill say this and to add to this, there is already a clause in Idaho's constitution that allows for open carry anywhere (Article I Section 11 for the full legislation). So now they claim that the bill is ambiguous. The argument of this bill costing them millions of dollars if this bill were to pass is also a fallacy. They say if this bill passes they would need to buy metal detectors, and arm their security guards. Why don’t they have these things already? What’s stopping people from walking onto campus right now and shooting people? These security measures should already have been put into place several shootings ago. But they instead use this argument to stop the bill. I’m glad that this bill is advancing not for myself, but for the women that make that fearful walk to their car, or down the greenbelt after a night class!

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