Boise State: Allowing Guns On Campus Will Cost University About $2 Million Each Year

Feb 21, 2014

Boise State University says proposed legislation that would allow guns to legally be carried on Idaho campuses would require an overhaul of its campus security.
Boise State University says proposed legislation that would allow guns to legally be carried on Idaho campuses would require an overhaul of its campus security.
Credit Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Boise State University says proposed legislation that would allow guns to be legally carried on its campus would cost the school about $2 million each year.

BSU’s head of security and police services, Jon Uda, detailed the costs in a university memo. In it, he says having guns on campus would present “myriad” of new threats for campus security.

Under current policy, Uda writes that unarmed security officers have traditionally responded to suspicious and threatening situations “knowing that individuals on campus were probably not armed due to University policy restrictions."

He says if the legislation becomes law, officers will have to be trained to address what he calls “good gun v. bad gun” situations and how to handle them.

The bill has passed the Senate, where a similar version failed three years ago. It’s now in the House. That chamber approved the more aggressive guns-on-campus bill in 2011. Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter has said he supports the proposal introduced this year by Sen. Curt McKenzie, R-Nampa.

Idaho's eight public colleges and universities oppose allowing concealed weapons on its campuses. The schools, and Idaho's state board of education, have vowed to fight the proposed legislation.

Senate Bill 1254 would prevent guns from being allowed in dormitories and venues where more than 1,000 people gather. Uda says that would mean increased security measures - including metal detectors - at all entrances to venues like Taco Bell Arena, Bronco Stadium and The Morrison Center. Guns are not allowed in those venues now, and the university does not currently employ metal detectors at their entrances.

The proposition of allowing concealed weapons on campus imposes a myriad of new threats for Campus Security and Police Services and requires a new paradigm for Campus Safety. -Jon Uda

Uda says the change in state policy would force the university to abandon its campus security department and create a public safety department that would include armed officers.

The university’s analysis concludes it would need an additional $895,050 the first year, and then $1.42 million each of the next two years to revamp its Campus Security department. First-year expenses at Taco Bell Arena would increase by about $350,000, $129,000 at The Morrison Center and $295,000 at Bronco Stadium. Increases in the university's contract with the Boise Police Department would account for $275,000.

Supporters of the bill have taken issue with college administrators’ assertions that universities would see more than nominal cost increases as a result of the legislation. The figures from Boise State are the first from an Idaho college or university to be made public.

Here is the full memo.

Here's a detailed look at the university's security cost estimate.

Clarification: Our initial report said the proposed legislation would increase BSU security costs by about $3.5 million over three years. That figure only included costs for the university's Campus Security department. University officials say other, additional costs push that figure to about $2 million per year.

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