As Idaho’s Guns on Campus bill (SB 1254) makes its rounds in the legislature, Boise State security officials claim if passed by the house, the law could cost the university nearly $2 million a year to implement additional security measures.
“Officers will now have to be trained in ‘good gun v. bad gun’ situations and, most importantly, be expected to handle the results of ‘bad gun’ situations,” said Jon Uda, executive director campus security and police services in a Feb. 20 memorandum.
Uda outlined the need for additional weapons checkpoints and metal detection equipment at campus venues should gun owners with enhanced permits be allowed to carry at Boise State.
“There will be substantial costs incurred by each campus venue or the university to purchase and maintain the detection equipment. Campus-wide policies and procedures will have to be formalized to ensure each venue complies with established regulations and protocols,” Uda said.
Meanwhile, officials at Idaho State University say SB 1254 may not interfere with nuclear research conducted on campus, but the proposed law would add to the universities overall security costs.
“In the event that Senate Bill 1254 is approved, we will take the necessary steps to ensure compliance,” said Howard Grimes, vice president for research and economic development at ISU. “Compliance will inevitably involve a fiscal component. We’re in the process of assessing those costs.”
Law enforcement leaders like Boise Police chief Mike Masterson openly oppose SB 1254, saying it will complicate police ability to respond to a campus shooting.
“Senate Bill 1254 is not a well-thought out bill. It has problems. I am expressing legitimate concerns about the passage of SB 1254. I’m a citizen and police chief who is exercising my right to speak out after being denied the right to speak before my elected leaders,” Masterson said in a Feb. 19 public forum at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral.
Masterson expressed frustration over a recent senate hearing for SB 1254 in which he and fellow Idaho police chiefs were not allowed to speak on the proposed bill.
“There is a disconnect in this country when a small, vocal, well-organized minority with substantial political influence can bring about laws that Idaho police chiefs, including myself, believe will do more harm to the public than good. I’ve learned this week of the courage it takes to stand up and express your opinion,” Masterson said.
Boise State President Bob Kustra has now sent out two emails asking for students and staff to actively oppose the bill.
“This bill would allow students and others to strap weapons openly on their hips or across their shoulders as they stroll across campus or enter their classrooms,” Kustra said in a Feb. 26 memorandum circulated throughout the university.
Kustra said without funding from the state, campuses across Idaho would be stuck footing the bill for additional security and training.
“The bill likely would require such costly inspection measures because if we did not take these steps, we could be open to lawsuits for not enforcing the law and its restrictions,” Kustra said.
Kustra also argued the proposed gun law would go against the recommendations of conservative supreme court justices in the Heller vs. DC case, in which gun owners were allowed to keep weapons unloaded, disassembled or bound by a trigger lock.
“Justice Scalia wrote in the Heller case that ‘nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on the longstanding … laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings’,” Kustra said.
Opponents of SB 1254 plan to stage demonstrations against the proposed law at the Capitol Thursday, Feb. 27. at 12:30 p.m.
Facebook group, Keep Idaho Colleges and Universities Safe—No Guns on Campus, which created the event, recently called for public support against the bill on their web page.
“Let’s meet on the steps of the Capitol at 12:30 to show the Idaho legislature our opposition to this bill. Students and professors outside of the Treasure Valley who cannot attend will meet on their campuses around the state,” the group’s Facebook page read.
Are you interested in the gun bill? Check out staff writer Ryan Hoffman’s editorial, see what other students are saying about the gun bill, see President Kustra’s full reasoning for opposing the gun bill and check out a letter to the editor defending the bill.