In Idaho, a bill has passed that allows students, staff, and faculty at Idaho’s colleges to carry a concealed weapon on campus, provided that they have an enhanced concealed weapons permit. The bill would ban the carrying of weapons in dormitories, at school activities, and in concert halls. Before applying for the enhanced permit, interested persons must complete an eight hour gun safety course given by a National Rifle Association teacher.
Supporters of the bill claim that it would increase campus safety, especially in the event of a criminal shooter, writes Laura Zuckerman of Reuters. If people know that others could have a concealed weapon, there would be less violent attacks, say proponents of the measure. Supporters like Idaho sheriff Robert Zollman, say it protects their Second Amendment right to bear arms.
“‘I often times fear that if you start restricting one thing at a time, like where you can carry guns, there will be a next step and a next step to the point where you’re not allowed to pack guns anywhere at any time,” he said.
Zuckerman also writes that opponents of the bill say they are not comfortable with having random students with weapons or guns on their person on campus. Among those against the bill were several leading university faculty members and officials, such as Boise State University President Bob Kustra. He stated that weapons and guns are not allowed in elementary, middle, or high schools, so they should not be allowed in college, where younger students sometimes visit.
“Yet children of these same ages are frequently on Boise State’s campus and cannot be kept separate from where guns would now be permitted,” he said in a statement.
Katie Terhune of Associated Press writes that another argument put forth against the bill is that were there a mass shooter on a college campus, the police and FBI would not know who it was in time to take them down if others had guns. Some argued against this idea, stating that if everyone had a gun, it could stop a would-be mass shooter.
Terhune’s report also suggests that some people argue that people would find loopholes in the system and start openly carrying guns, including in places like stadiums which are banned by the bill. State Board of Education member and lawyer Rod Lewis believes that judges may see the bill as permission for individuals to openly carry guns on campus, so that no one will know if the person carrying the gun intends to shoot people or just walk to class.
Not everyone agrees with his viewpoint, citing the bill would not ban colleges from enforcing a concealed weapons only policy.