Guns on campus: What if there was no regulation?

Kaylie Hilliker | The Arbiter

On Feb. 23 at 8 a.m., multiple gun violence prevention organizations gathered for an advocacy day and lobbied at the Idaho Capitol in response to Senate Bill 1008 and Senate Bill 1056.

The groups included Everytown For Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense In America, Students Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and representatives from the Giffords organization.

Participants waited in West Wing Room 17 in anticipation for the interim Chief of Boise Police Department, Ron Winegar, to provide statements on S.B. 1008 and S.B. 1056 (S.B. 1056 surrounds amendments and additions to law about public militias organizing in cities and towns). The logo t-shirts of the Moms Demand Action volunteers painted the room red, a somber reminder of the consequences of gun violence.

Sen. Foreman, the sponsor of both bills, seeks to repeal Idaho Code Section 18-3309 with S.B. 1008. Section 18-3309 outlines the rules and regulations around gun possession in public colleges and universities. 

Foreman believes these public university gun policies infringe on Second Amendment rights for students, and that S.B. 1008 will restore these rights.

“18-3309 is the section code that gives the governing boards of state colleges and universities the authority to create this matrix of gun laws,” Foreman told The Arbiter in an interview. “They can decide who carries and who doesn’t. And I don’t like that, I think that violates the Second Amendment.”

If the bill passes and is signed into law, it will change Boise State’s current gun regulations.

As of today, it is unlawful to carry firearms on campus in dorms, or public entertainment facilities with seating capacities of at least one thousand (like ExtraMile Arena or the Student Union Building) according to Boise State policy. 

The only circumstance in which a student can possess a firearm on campus grounds is if they have an enhanced license to carry a concealed weapon. There are cases in which members of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps with permission from the associate vice president for Public Safety can carry, or if a person has written authorization the associate vice president for Public Safety. Regardless, firearms are not allowed in dormitories or large-scale public facilities. 

If S.B. 1008 passes, any person who is 18 and does not possess a felony charge can carry without a license or prior training in ExtraMile Arena, the SUB, Albertsons Stadium or the Morrison Center, including dormitories and residence halls. 

The law would allow anyone (student or the public) to carry anywhere on campus without university regulation unless the carrier was breaking the law or putting others at risk.

[Gun violence prevention group Moms Demand Action gather at the Idaho Capitol Building in protest of S.B. 1008.]
Kaylie Hilliker | The Arbiter

The Arbiter asked Sen. Foreman for his opinion on training for gun owners. 

“You don’t need me as a legislator saying, ‘Hey, tie your shoes before you walk, lock your door, wear your seat belt, go get gun training before you pick up a gun.’ Those things are common sense,” Foreman said. “Some people may say, ‘Well some people don’t have common sense.’ That’s true. Some people don’t. But it’s not the government’s job to do their thinking for them.” 

The language of upholding “common sense” is a theme surrounding the policies for gun laws in Idaho in this legislative session. For Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, common sense is the backbone of their advocacy efforts.  

Jacqui Hamilton, the Idaho State Chapter lead for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, told The Arbiter the purpose of their organization’s presence in the Capitol that day.

“We come together to show that you can have common sense legislation and not give into extremism,” Hamilton said. “We are not anti-gun. We are gun owners, we are veterans, we are law enforcement, we are moms, dads, uncles, aunts, and all come together to make sure we keep our community safe. That’s our goal.”

Those gun owners welcomed Chief Winegar as he took the front to address the room. 

“Some of these bills that are under consideration put in jeopardy public safety,” Winegar said. “And so I feel it’s incumbent upon us to speak up and speak out that we have to be careful with that legislation because it can have tremendous unintended consequences.”

The Arbiter asked Chief Winegar about what impacts S.B. 1008 would have on Boise State’s campus in the future.

“That can be a very dangerous situation,” Winegar said. “Again, I am not anti-gun … I am a strong proponent of the Second Amendment and a strong proponent of firearms for a number of reasons. But, there have to be common sense measures in place.”

Those “common-sense” measures referred to are under Idaho section 18-3309. To review: the measures give Idaho public universities the power to determine policy at their own discretion. The measures prevent students or the public from carrying concealed guns into large-scale facilities or dormitories. The measures require carriers to possess government-issued licenses. 

The bottom line is if S.B. 1008 is signed into law, gun regulation and policy on campus will change.

“Boise State University is keeping an eye on legislation making its way through the legislature and is in regular contact with the State Board of Education and legislators about bills that would affect campus and students,” Mike Sharp, deputy communications director at Boise State University, wrote in an email to The Arbiter.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Andrew

    Idaho government once again proving that they are one of the best in the nation.

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