The Republican Legislature in Idaho voted March 6 to pass SB-1254, 50 to 19, a bill that will allow concealed carry permit holders in Idaho the right to carry on campus.
This measure passed the Senate and now goes to Republican Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter for his signature.
The bill has received support from pro-gun groups like the National Association for Gun Rights and the National Rifle Association, but NAGR asserts that this bill could be much stronger.
This legislation limits the right to carry within student dormitories, residence halls and entertainment facilities, such as a stadium or auditorium.
“Campuses could become checkerboards of ‘gotcha’ gun-free zones for law-abiding gun owners — especially in areas of campus where the tools of self-defense are most needed” said Dudley Brown, executive vice president of the National Association for Gun Rights.
“We are urging our members and supporters in Idaho to contact their legislators to pass this bill with no restrictions on where a law-abiding gun owner may carry on-campus,” he said.
Opponents of this bill include the major universities in Idaho, Idaho State University being one of the most vocal.
Idaho State University’s President Arthur Vailas initially claimed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission which regulates nuclear power plants and other uses of nuclear materials, has a zero-tolerance firearms policy and ISU could lose its license to conduct nuclear research.
Of the few universities that allow firearms on campus, the University of Utah first allowed students to carry concealed in 2004. The University of Utah, like Idaho State University, also has a nuclear engineering program.
The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s website specifies that both universities have the exact same facility functions, they contain test reactors and conduct operating research, but neither have operating nuclear power reactors.
The NRC financial report for 2013’s Faculty Development Grant Program shows the NRC gave $300,000 to the University of Utah, a University that allows concealed carry on campus. This funding has not been cut due to their firearms policy.
Vailas went as far to tell Otter their funding for the nuclear program could be eliminated if he signs this bill into law.
John Hanian, press secretary for Otter’s office commented on Tuesday said,” The Governor is supportive of the general legislation and doesn’t believe that an individual’s Second Amendment rights don’t apply just because they step on campus.”
The governor’s office has not commented on whether or not Otter will sign or veto the bill when it comes to his desk.