S 1254: “Campus Carry”
In order to preserve and protect our right to keep and bear arms it requires a constant effort. As you are undoubtedly aware, S1254 passed the House and Senate in the 2014 Legislature and was signed by Governor Otter.
The following describes why I supported S 1254.
!It is currently not illegal to possess a firearm on a public college and university campus.
- ▪ Idaho Code § 18-3302J gives public universities authority to regulate “matters relating to firearms.” However, public colleges do not have authority to enact criminal laws.
- ▪ S 1254 is not a “campus carry” bill, in the sense that it makes possession of a firearm on a campus legal, because it is not currently illegal to do so. It is a bill that aims to achieve a more secure campus environment by creating uniform, stringent requirements for firearm possession on public college and university campuses.What does this mean?
Public colleges and universities can, and have, enacted regulations banning firearms on campuses. These regulations apply to all individuals, but may only be directly enforced against individuals over whom the college or university has authority (i.e. students and faculty).
Banning firearms on campus predominantly affects rule-abiding students and employees. Fear of suspension, expulsion, or termination isn’t going to deter an individual intent on committing murder, robbery, rape or assault.
Banning firearms on public college and university campuses fundamental right to self-defense and constitutional right to keep and bear arms while they are in a “safe” campus environment.
Approximately 60,000 students and faculty members either attend or are employed by Idaho’s public colleges and universities. A very large majority of those students and employees live in off-campus housing. For students and employees who commute to and from off-campus housing, campus gun bans mean that they are effectively prohibited from possessing a firearm for protection on their person or in their vehicle while commuting to and from campus.
While Idaho’s public colleges and universities may claim that they provide a “safe” environment on campus, a “safe” campus environment will not protect students or employees while they travel to or from their off-campus housing or work.
An absolute firearm ban on public college and university campuses, in effect, has far-reaching
implications on a student or employee’s constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
Public college and university campuses are very different from the few public institutions where Idaho law does prohibit the possession of firearms.
Pursuant to § 18-3302C, the only public institutions where the possession of firearms is prohibited by non-law-enforcement personnel are:
o Juvenile Detention Facilities and Jails; and o K-12 schools.
In order to gain entrance into many courthouses and every jail, an individual must pass through a metal detector. Furthermore, these venues provide armed security to ensure the safety of entrants.
The typical K-12 institution in the state of Idaho only spans a few acres. A large majority of the individuals present at K-12 institutions are legally prohibited from possessing a firearm because of their age. Furthermore, the demographics of these institutions (young children) mean that crimes of violence such as rape, robbery and assault are very unlikely to occur on school grounds.
Compare those locations to a public college or university campus where:
o Campuses span hundreds of acres;
o There is no armed security; and
o College students and employees are far more likely targets for violent criminals.
It would be nearly impossible for public colleges and universities to provide a secure environment over such an expansive area. As a result, in nearly every case in which a violent crime is committed on a college or university campus, the university response is not in the form of intervention; but comes after the crime has already been committed.
Six states—Utah, Colorado, Oregon, Kansas, Mississippi and Wisconsin—currently permit qualifying individuals to possess a firearm on public college and university campuses. Since becoming legal in these states, a lawfully possessed firearm has not been used to commit a murder on a campus.