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.