Your Guide To Idaho's Guns On Campus Debate

On March 6, 2014 the Idaho Legislature approved a bill that allows some people to carry concealed weapons on all of Idaho's college and university campuses.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter signed the bill into law less than a week later on March 12, 2014, despite opposition from all of Idaho's college and university presidents. The law went into effect July 1, 2014.

A similar measure was debated and failed in 2011.

We've gathered stories on this topic here, and you'll find all related content below.

Garden Valley Installs Firearms In School

May 28, 2015

The isolated Garden Valley School District has installed firearms in its only school building and trained staff to use them in response to an active shooter.

Citing safety reasons, Superintendent Marc Gee won’t say how many guns and safes were installed or where they are located. This summer, the district will post signs warning that the school building is armed and educators are prepared to defend against violent intruders.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Five of Idaho's universities and community colleges say they've spent more than $1.5 million for additional security since lawmakers approved a law allowing concealed guns on campus.

The Idaho Statesman reports the schools sought $1.55 million this winter plus another $2.17 million for the rest of the budget year to help with expenses.

But Boise State University, Idaho State University, the University of Idaho, the College of Western Idaho and North Idaho College will likely have to absorb the costs.

A northern Idaho man who carried a concealed weapon into a dormitory at Lewis-Clark State College is facing charges.

The Lewiston Tribune reports that 19-year-old Wesley S. Bowler of Harpster is charged with carrying a concealed weapon without permit.

Bowler, who is not a student, was taken into custody at the dormitory on Wednesday and police seized a Kel-Tec P-11 pistol with a loaded magazine.

Bowler was taken to the Nez Perce County Jail and released after paying $300 of his bond amount.

Alexander Baxevanis / Flickr Creative Commons

The internationally-known author Salman Rushdie will speak in Boise Thursday evening during a free event at Boise State University. 

Rushdie’s 1988 book “The Satanic Verses” led to the leader of Iran putting a bounty on the author’s head. Iranian hardliners continue to vow to kill Rushdie.     

In April, the threat prompted police in Ohio to check for bombs in a venue where Rushdie was scheduled to speak.

Boise State University officials say they will change their on-campus event policies after facing a possible lawsuit from private legal organizations.

The Idaho Freedom Foundation and American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho had accused the university of violating the First Amendment after it charged a student organization security fees for a gun-rights event earlier this year.

University officials had already reimbursed the students $465 but they say will now suspend the policies that allow them to charge for enhanced security.

Boise State Photo Services

Boise State opens its home football schedule Saturday night at Albertsons Stadium. The game vs. Colorado State marks the first time fans entering the stadium will be required to walk through metal detectors.

The university has purchased nearly $200,000 worth of equipment to help beef up security.

Greg Hahn, a university spokesman, says Idaho’s recent change in campus gun laws led Boise State to make the move.

Northwest News Network File Photo

Police in Pocatello are investigating how an Idaho State University professor accidentally shot himself in the foot during class. The Idaho State Journal reports the chemistry professor's gun discharged in his pocket.

The injury was non-life threatening and no one else was harmed. But critics of guns-on-campus laws are pointing to the incident is a cautionary tale.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

A private legal organization says they are willing to pursue all options with Boise State University after raising concerns how school officials handled a Second Amendment rights event earlier this year.

The Center for Defense of Liberty, a litigation organization under the Idaho Freedom Foundation, says Boise State violated First Amendment rights when it charged the Young Americans for Liberty more than $450 when they sponsored gun rights advocate Dick Heller to speak at the university campus in May.

ZenHikers / Flickr Creative Commons

On July 1, people with concealed weapons permits can carry their firearms right onto the campus of Boise State, and any other state-run college or university in Idaho. This state is the seventh to allow “campus carry.”

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Boise State University has released its preliminary plans for implementing the state’s new guns-on-campus law. It and other state colleges and universities have until July 1 before the law goes into effect.

The update from the university came in the form of an email Thursday from university president Bob Kustra. He says the school is in the process of revising policies and procedures and that administrators have already made several decisions. 

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter Signs Guns On Campus Bill

Mar 12, 2014
Butch Otter
Idaho Statesman

Starting July 1, students, staff and visitors to Idaho's college and university campuses will be legally allowed to carry concealed guns with a permit. Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter signed Senate Bill 1254 into law Wednesday, making Idaho the seventh state to allow guns on campuses.

Idaho university students are making a last-minute attempt to stop a measure that would allow people to carry concealed weapons on campus.

capitol, statehouse, idaho
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho House has voted to back a bill allowing students, faculty and visitors carry guns on college campuses.

The bill passed with a 50-19 vote, with proponents arguing it upholds Second Amendment rights and allows people on campuses to protect themselves.

But lawmakers who voted against it skewered the measure, saying it's being pushed through despite opposition from leaders of all eight public colleges and universities.

Those leaders worry it will disrupt learning environments and put people at risk.

The Idaho Sheriffs' Association is throwing their support behind a bill that would allow people to carry concealed firearms on college campuses.

A "vast majority" of 38 Idaho sheriffs who responded to a poll backed the legislation, according to Adams County Sheriff Ryan Zollman.

Zollman said at a Wednesday press conference he thinks allowing guns on campus in the hands of law-abiding citizens will allow them to protect themselves.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

A bill to allow students, staff and visitors to carry guns on Idaho's college campuses passed the House State Affairs Committee in a party-line split.

Lawmakers voted 11-3 Friday afternoon to send it forward to debate on the House floor, over objections from the majority of people who testified before the committee.

State colleges and universities across Idaho are appealing to state lawmakers' fiscally conservative side in an attempt to sideline a proposal to allow guns on campuses.

protest, capitol
Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

More than 200 people against a bill that would allow permit holders to carry concealed weapons on Idaho's university campuses protested Thursday in the rain outside the Statehouse. The group was made up primarily of students and faculty of Boise State University and the College of Western Idaho.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

A coalition of Idaho college students, faculty, and law enforcement will rally at the Capitol at 12:30 Thursday against a proposal that would allow some to carry concealed guns on university campuses.

Boise State University

Boise State University President Bob Kustra says he’s against proposed legislation that would allow guns on Idaho college and university campuses, because it addresses a problem that doesn’t exist.

Kustra is one of the eight Idaho academic presidents who came out this month in opposition to a proposal that would allow guns to be legally carried on campuses. The State Board of Education also opposes the legislation. 

Curt McKenzie
Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

On one corner of Curt McKenzie’s desk at the Idaho Capitol sit three candy jars. On the opposite corner - an Army green ammunition box.

McKenzie is the Republican state senator from Nampa who introduced a controversial bill that would allow some people to carry guns on Idaho’s college campuses. The bill has passed the Senate and is now in the House.

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