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The way we see it: Guns not necessary on campus


Considering we live in a day in age where fears run amok, it is no surprise a handful of students would want to find better means to protect themselves from the possibility of another Virginia Tech or Northern Illinois shooting incident. Come on, what says deterrent more than a 9mm in the face of a mad gunman? We all want to be heroes.

The big question is, at what point do we view the allowance of guns on campus as protection versus paranoia?

Wednesday the Idaho House of Representatives passed House Bill 222 by a vote of 41-28 to allow card-carrying concealed weapons holders the right to walk through campus strapped and primed to discourage the next gun-toting maniac who decides to start unloading on unsuspecting campus-goers at Boise State University and other institutions of higher learning. Undergraduate students living on campus will not be given the right to carry concealed weapons into their dormitories.

Texas’ Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee moved forward House Bill 750 for vote to allow guns on their campuses, too. Utah currently allows firearms on campuses and in school buildings.

In what has become the typical mode of maneuvering around opposition, Idaho lawmakers have decided to curtail input in-mass in order to push through a bill where the people directly affected — being us students — were completely overlooked, with the exception of top ASBSU officials who offered their input while the bill was in committee. Idaho’s major universities — Boise State University, Idaho State University and University of Idaho — were void of forums entertaining students’ or professors’ thoughts on the matter of guns on campus prior to the bill moving to committee, where it was approved 11-8, and then the House. The Senate will hear thoughts from BSU Security representatives this week before moving to vote.

The House subcommittee heard the thoughts of Boise Police Lieutenant Tony Plott, Campus Security Executive Director Jon Uda, Director of Government Relations Bruce Newcomb and Vice President of General Counsel Kevin Saterlee before voting on the issue.

The paranoia seems to come from thin air according to crime statistics. There have been no shootings on Idaho campuses to prompt such an action. There is no convincing data inferring the allowance of guns on campus is warranted. Eight forcible sex offenses, two aggravated assaults and 49 burglaries were reported during 2009 across all Idaho university and college campuses. The trends from 2007-08 show a drop of criminal activity in these areas.

BSU reported three forcible sex offenses, no aggravated assaults and 10 burglaries during 2009; all showing a drop in trend from 2007-09.

As Idahoans, we pride ourselves on the idealized Western way of independence and the American dream. We love our way of life, which often includes the open use of projectile weaponry. But at some point we must draw a line in the sand — ideally at the boundary of college campuses — where that paranoid state-of-mind is left at the door. There is little to no reason to fear extreme violence at BSU. Previous incidents across the nation have been exceedingly isolated events. They are not a weekly, monthly or even annual occurrence. Guns on campus would very likely become a distraction for students who don’t want them here. Fear from those not carrying firearms has yet to be a pressing issue as of late.

Those with concealed weapons permits are the least likely candidates to shoot up a campus. But their presence isn’t warranted at this point. Don’t fix it if it ain’t broken.

“The way we see it” is based on the majority opinions of The Arbiter’s editorial board. Members of the board are Bob Beers, editor-in-chief; Kirk Bell, managing editor; Haley Robinson, opinion editor; Karey Hoke, assistant opinion editor; Andrew Ford, news editor; Suzanne Craig, assistant news editor; Rebecca De León, culture editor; Lauren Hooker, assistant culture editor; and Jessica Swider, assistant online editor.

18 Comments on The way we see it: Guns not necessary on campus

  1. hIGH_aND_mIGHTY // Mar 21, 2011 at 2:25 am //

    Enjoyed the editorial. Though I lean towards allowing carry on Idaho campuses, A big reason was in the last paragraph.

    "Those with concealed weapons permits are the least likely candidates to shoot up a campus."

    These same people are allowed to carry almost everywhere else and there is nothing legally preventing those with a concealed carry permit from strapping on a gun before going to class. There are no metal detectors manned by armed guards at these schools so what would prevent anyone from carrying on campus if they wanted to? I am guessing that the majority of those who would carry but don't do some primarily out of fear. Nobody working towards a better education wants to get kicked out of school.

  2. Students carry to the grocery store, to the bank, to the park to walk their dogs, and to the local sports arena to watch a game. They carry and are respectable, upstanding, and honorable. They are also your first line of defense should someone decide to rack up a body count. So the people opposing this would like us to believe that at the edge of a campus property line is a magical border that will cause these students to go crazy and start shooting professors. Get real. The ONLY result of allowing weapons on campus is that the first line of defense will be extended to campus and the school will be safer.

  3. ____The paranoia? The gun owners of VA Tech were paranoid until they were in the line of fire. The Luby's patrons were paranoid until they were being shot. But you don't get a chance to go home and get your gun when someone drives their truck into the restaurant you are eating at and starts killing people.____Honestly? We don't have enough CCW holders carrying as it is. Even if this bill IS passed, at first there will be a few more guns on campus, but in time, most will stop. The select few that will still carry will be females that have late classes, and off duty police/security that carry all the time anyway.____So, in my opinion, the only ones that are paranoid are the anti-gun group. But I don't trust their paranoia as they have an agenda. To them, more deaths means better gun restrictions.

  4. The last couple of sentences in your first paragraph is an intentional insult to those who choose to carry for personal protection. That is more than apparent, and it is reinforced with your photo of the single-action "cowboy" gun at the top of the article. I have obviously met and dealt personally with many, many more concealed weapon permit holders (in multiple states, I might add) than you have, because I have never heard of or encountered any CWP holder who "wants to be a hero" in the manner you have so irresponsibly portrayed. All states that require classroom training as part of obtaining a CWP (I can't recall any states offhand that do not) mandate the inclusion of non-violent conflict resolution, and state & local law as part of the syllabus. Those two subjects are usually the meat-and-potatoes of the training. If you claim to be a spokesperson for educated people, you owe it to yourself and to others to get educated about the subject(s) you wish to write about. Take a concealed weapons course in Idaho. You don't need to own a gun to do it, so it should be no problem for you. The classes run about $50 – $100, and your local law enforcement agency can point you in the right direction and get you hooked up. I think you'll be surprised, and perhaps it will calm your fears.

    Speaking of fears – most of the fears and "paranoia" you speak of has come from those who oppose the idea of allowing legal concealed weapon permit holders from exercising their constitutional rights on a publicly funded institution. What other constitutional rights would you like to have suspended while on campus? Also, are you really that naive to believe that there are dozens, and maybe hundreds of ILLEGALLY concealed weapons on campus at present? Please. Pull your head out of the sand. There are many more than "just a handful" of people who support the legislation. As has been shown in recent political elections, the squeaky wheels are not necessarily the majority, they just make more noise and are squeakier.

    I'm sure that many students at Virginia Tech and Norther Illinois felt the same way that you do at one time. But all that has changed. People need to realize that situations like those can happen on any day, and at any time. Being present in certain areas and places can increase a person's likelihood of encountering deadly force violence, but being in a place that does not have a history of deadly force violence is absolutely no guarantee of such violence NOT occurring, as is regularly portrayed on the daily news. And what about those campus crime statistics you have quoted? How many aggravated assaults and forcible sex offenses are acceptable? Are the 8 women who were victims of forcible sex offenses on Idaho campuses acceptable casualties, in your opinion, of maintaining a "gun free zone"?

    Your own fear and paranoia over concealed weapon permit holders is itself "coming out of thin air" as you have put it. Stop fearing the sheepdogs and start focusing on the wolves in your midst. If you must carry a fear over something, then at least it will be a rational one.

  5. justinboggs // Mar 21, 2011 at 9:28 am //

    I think that as long as we are drawing the line on the 2nd amendment on BSU campus, we should draw the line also on the 1st amendment. Everyone knows how dangerous ideas are, I mean a few ideas from Hitler alone killed millions of people. Marx produced some ideas that resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of innocent people. Ban ideas from campus. They are dangerous, as soon as someone gets one in their mind they become a crazed homicidal maniac. Draw the line here, and draw it hard!!

  6. someothername // Mar 21, 2011 at 9:44 am //

    RENO — Amanda Collins doesn't know whether she could have used her handgun to stop the man who sexually assaulted her in a University parking garage

    Collins, then 22, was assaulted at gunpoint by James Biela the night of Oct. 22, 2007, after a midterm exam.

    Three months later, Biela kidnapped and killed another student,

    • someothername // Mar 21, 2011 at 9:46 am //

      She never got the opportunity to find out. She wasn't "allowed" to protect herself.

  7. Your poll said the exact opposite. More people were heavily in favor of the bill than against it.

  8. idahoretired // Mar 21, 2011 at 1:34 pm //

    I will not re-state what has already been posted. I will ask you to take a CCW class, learn about the subject before you write about it. Also, please learn about hand guns and ammunition,,, the weapon you posted the picture of cannot fire the ammo you have next to it. The single action revolver does not use ammo for an automatic. One last FACT. Never and I repeat never has a gun killed a human being. Who do you want next to you when confronted with a crazy nut job,,, me with my years of training and practice,, or your piece of paper banning guns on campus? I know the answer I would get from the DOZENS of family members at V. Tech. I will defend you and your right to protest,,, even if it means my life in doing so, Please defend my right to protect myself…

    • DOZENS of family members have actually written a letter to Idaho lawmakers urging them NOT to pass this legislation, as well as one of the students who survived the attacks..

      Family letter to Idaho House Representatives:
      Interview article about VT student:

  9. What all of them said.

    I am dumbfounded that the Arbiter still has no response to the fact that ANYONE CAN CARRY ON CAMPUS AT ANY TIME as it is. What is so wrong with allowing people to do so legally? Your crack opinion staff is correct on one thing though. This legislation really is unnecessary. If the university had any common sense, this would have already been a law.

    • If students on campus have really been that concerned with guns being prohibited on campus, then why have absolutely NONE approached administrators about that concern? If that is the case than I urge those students to use their voice to change the campus policy. Do students not understand that they have that kind of power at a university? This bill was not a student initiative, and leaves me concerned as to the true motives for it's creation. All it does is takes the authority away from the local institution (something our State govn't is not fond of when the Federal govn't does the same to them) stripping students of the opportunity to decide what's right for their own campus.

      • No….it is not a bill that strips rights. It's a bill that ensures rights. Again…it's rediculous that it even has to be discussed. If the University wants to set the expectation that no guns should be on campus, then I should have to pass through a metal detector before stepping on campus. I should be searched. But as it is, the University CANNOT gurantee that guns will not be on campus. Ensuring the safety of students should be the Universities number one priority. By not ensuring everyone the ability to defend themselves, the University is not securing EVERYONES security.

  10. It is reckless and poor reporting to say that this law is to "allow card-carrying concealed weapons holders the right to walk through campus." In the actual bill it simply states "firearms" not focusing it on just concealed weapons. This means that anyone that has a weapon is able to carry it on campus concealed (if they have a permit) or out in the open strapped to their back/shoulder/side.

    Also there are many different outside entities that come to this campus, i.e. concerts at the Taco Bell Arena, ESPN at Bronco Stadium, various performances in the Morrison Center as well as speaking engagements and other events on campus that we could see pulling out of future events. Many different performers will choose not to come to our campus simply because this law is so vague and includes all firearms and its often in their contracts that it be a gun free venue. This bill also takes the power away from University Administration of making decisions on where specifically people are allowed to carry on campus.

  11. I must admit, I love our democratic republic for just this reason. The shrill wail of the vocal minority has yet again been thrown off and reason has prevailed. Predator beware! Fewer rapes and assaults on the greenbelt is long overdue.

  12. If the university wants to ban law abiding citizens from exercising their right to to self defense (with deadly force, if necessary) while on campus grounds, then the university should feel comfortable in waiving its own legal defense rights in the event of any, and all, future deadly force attacks that may be committed against defenseless victims while on campus.

    All parties need to be equally invested before there can be a meaningful discussion. We know the price that potential defenseless victims will be asked to pay. What price is the university willing to pay? I think we should know, up front. Make them put their money where their mouth is, and waive their own rights.

    Until then, I'm packing. :)

  13. Noseascomoelche // Mar 21, 2011 at 8:14 pm //

    "We all want to be heroes."

    Not really, it's called self preservation. It's about having rights and a voice to prevent those who who would take a life, you know…the very same thing which the Arbiter staff and all the other leftists deny to unborn children.

  14. "The Way the Arbiter Sees it" and the way students see it is different. The fact is that CCW holders are law abiding, and continue to be law abiding because they want to keep their CCW permits. I assure you, many students are following this closely and it is NO SECRET on campus. Any rapist or violent criminal would NOT be concerned with the existing rules but would be very wary of the possibility of an armed victim. It's time to give the sheep protection from the wolves.

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