[Vision2020] UI gun policy under fire

Moscow Cares moscowcares at moscow.com
Thu Mar 1 11:59:40 PST 2018

Courtesy of the University of Idaho Argonaut at:



UI gun policy under fire
A closer look at UI’s firearm policy

Seventeen people were shot and killed in Parkland, Florida, during a Feb. 14 school shooting.

Shortly after, the conversation regarding gun control crept back into the national shared conscience, with the survivors of the shooting speaking out on the need for stricter firearm regulations.

The conversation, though national, made its way to the University of Idaho, where state law and university policy intersect. At UI, individuals are permitted to carry a concealed weapon on campus and in classrooms if they have an enhanced concealed carry permit.

In 2014, Idaho passed Senate Bill 1254, which allows qualified retired law enforcement and enhanced concealed weapon permit holders to “carry a concealed firearm on public college campuses and university property, with the exception of dormitories, residence halls and at public entertainment/sporting facilities with a seating capacity greater that 1,000,” according to UI’s webpage detailing its firearms policy.

The university’s own policy regarding these permitholders states that a professor is not allowed to ask a student if they are carrying. A student who is carrying does not have to reveal they have a firearm on their person unless asked by police.

Former UI interim president Donald Burnett said the Second Amendment in the U.S. Constitution contains two clauses. The first emphasizes the importance of a well-regulated militia, while the second details the right to bear arms.   

“For a very long time, congress said that you must read those two clauses together and that the purpose of the second amendment was to prevent the national government from limiting the power of state government, and to create their own militias, their own armed forces, which eventually turned into the National Guard,” Burnett said. Burnett said in 2014, many university presidents and the state board of education argued keeping firearms on college campuses did not fall under the umbrella of the Second Amendment, since it was considered a policy choice, rather than a constitutional regulation.

“We have a policy where someone sitting next to us could have a gun and we wouldn’t even know about it, and that terrifies me,” said UI junior Anissa La Vigne. “I don’t think it is necessary for anyone to carry firearms in school. I don’t feel safe having them in my school. How do I know that the person sitting next to me can act rationally if put in a situation where they think they need to use their gun?”

According to the Idaho attorney general webpage, any person over the age of 21 that has not been convicted of a crime with jail time of more than one year and is capable of showing they are not mentally ill or lacking mental capacity can purchase an enhanced concealed carry permit. They are not required to take any sort of test, but are required to have participated in a hunter’s education course or a firearm safety course mandated by the state or National Rifle Association.

Burnett said the idea of having more firearms on campus would reduce the threat of an active shooter. He said many in favor of the idea argued the first responders often take too long to efficiently respond to an emergency. With more guns on campus, an active shooter could be thwarted before serious damage could be done.

Burnett said he was concerned with the policy’s potential implications. More guns on campus, he said, could lead to more unrest between faculty and students, adding that police often have trouble discerning a shooter from an armed victim.

“The University of Idaho had a national firearms expert testify also that if you have multiple people displaying and using firearms all at once, it is very difficult for police to pick and choose who the wrong shooter is, and it creates danger for the public and in classrooms,” Burnett said.According to Statute 18-33, adopted in 2016, any person over the age of 21 not disqualified from having a permit may carry a rifle, shotgun or handgun without a concealed carry permit. There are currently bills on the house floor aimed at reducing the restrictions on firearms currently in place on public college campuses and universities.


Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .

"Moscow Cares" (the most fun you can have with your pants on)
Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho

"There's room at the top they are telling you still.
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill,
If you want to be like the folks on the hill."

- John Lennon
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