On Wednesday evening, Idaho Gov. C. L. “Butch” Otter, a Republican, signed a bill into law that allows the carrying of concealed guns on campus. The law, drafted by the National Rifle Association and opposed by Idaho’s eight college presidents, allows permit holders to carry their firearms on college grounds with the exception of dorms and venues with more than 1,000 people.
“As elected officials, we have a sworn responsibility to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States – not only when doing so is easy, convenient or without cost, but especially when it is not,” Otter wrote in a statement. In a radio interview last month, Boise State University president Bob Kustra said, “I think the Second Amendment was designed to protect lives, and the strange thing about this legislation is that I think it may have the opposite effect intended by the Second Amendment.”
The Spokane Spokesman-Review reported that mothers of victims of mass college shootings urged Otter to veto the bill in its final days in the House: “We have lived the nightmare of what guns on campus can do and we strongly reject the idea that adding more guns into the mix is a safe or sane answer. It is not!,” wrote mothers Lori Haas and Mary Kay Mace.
Idaho now joins six other U.S. states that allow the “concealed carry” of weapons on public college and university campuses. All 50 states have laws permitting the carrying of concealed guns in public, but the restrictions differ significantly from state to state. In 21 states carrying a concealed weapon on campus is affirmatively banned.
In January of last year, more than 300 college and university presidents signed an open letter to American lawmakers, urging action to end gun violence: “We urge both our President and Congress to take action on gun control now. As a group, we do not oppose gun ownership. But, in many of our states, legislation has been introduced or passed that would allow gun possession on college campuses. We oppose such laws.”
What do you think? Is Idaho right to allow guns on campus? Vote and comment below.