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Update on Idaho Campus Carry SB 1254

2014-03-12 SB 1254 Signed into law by Governor Otter, to take effect July 1, 2014.

made it out of Senate State Affairs committee and the full Senate.  It has gone to the House where it sits in their State Affairs committee.  I am still hoping this passes and is signed into law.

2014-02-26: Recently an email was sent out by the university administration to all students, faculty, and staff.  It was, as could be expected, very critical of the bill.  I'm no lawyer, but I had some issues with the text of the message and respectfully disagree on a number of points.  Excerpts from that email are below.

This bill permits those with certain permits to carry concealed weapons on campus except in residence halls and in public entertainment facilities with seating capacity of 1000 or more. Naturally, folks are focusing on this being about concealed weapons being allowed on campus. But under Idaho law, anyone with a concealed carry permit can also openly carry a weapon.

The first sentence is correct and is the whole point of the bill.  The last sentance, while technically correct, is misleading.  First, you do not need a CWP to open carry in Idaho.  Open carry is legal for anyone 18+ who is not disqualified for any other reason.  As the law stands today, the only thing that keeps open or concealed carry from happening on campus is university policy.  Some would argue that even the current law does not allow the university to restrict open carry.  That being said, for the general public, you can be charged with trespassing if you do not leave when asked.  For faculty, staff, or students it would likely mean termination or expulsion.  Should SB 1254 pass, nothing will change regarding open carry or standard CWP.  Both would still fall under the existing university policy.

Yet the United States Supreme Court, including its most conservative members, have recognized that firearms prohibitions in "schools and government buildings" and other "sensitive areas" could well be necessary and thus never extended constitutional protection against regulations or prohibitions when schools or government buildings are involved.

Idaho Title will not change and (for better or worse) firearms will still be prohibited there as they are today.  According to Idaho law, a "school" is defined as any elementary or secondary school. Universities have always been separate by definition.

This bill strips a critically important policy decision from the members of the State Board of Education, and from the locally elected trustees of community colleges from across Idaho.

There has been stated concern over loss of local control and that the State is centralizing it at a higher level.  I actually see this move as a step toward more local control.  You can't get more local than an individual.  Because the state recognizes the right to carry as an individual liberty, they are not imposing a control at the State level, it is being given back to the individual, where it belongs.  When an individual is empowered to make decisions for themselves, it is the ultimate expression of local control.

Weapons, concealed or otherwise, are not allowed in Idaho's elementary, middle and high schools. 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.

Guess what? There are children everywhere. There are minors around people who carry firearms off campus every day whether they know it or not.  If they are trusted around those people while off campus, why would they not be trusted around those poeple while on campus?  There is no fundamental difference between someone who can legally carry a firearm outside the borders of the university and that same person when they step over the invisible line that delineates a campus.

A person's character does not change just because they walk onto school grounds.

story | by Dr. Radut