Posted on Thursday, March 13th, 2014
A bill that prohibits state colleges and universities from regulating firearms on their campuses was signed by the governor of Idaho yesterday. The governor approved the law despite strong opposition from the Idaho Board of Education, Chief of Police, and the presidents of every Idaho public university, college, and community college. No public colleges or universities in Idaho currently allow guns on their campuses.
Although the law still allows public colleges and universities to regulate guns on campus in some respects, Idaho Senate Bill 1254 prohibits them from banning the carrying of firearms by individuals with an enhanced concealed carry permit. An individual need only obtain an additional eight hours of firearms safety training and fire 98 live rounds to qualify for this enhanced permit. However, because of a incredibly dangerous loophole, these permit holders will be able to carry their firearms openly on campus, which makes Idaho the first state in the country to allow people to openly carry weapons on campus.
People with enhanced permits will still be restricted from carrying a concealed firearm within a student dormitory, residence hall, or public entertainment facility, but this is the only restriction the law places on enhanced permit holders. The law does not prevent enhanced permit holders from carrying their firearms openly in the same places, or anywhere else on campus.
Whether Carried Openly or Concealed, Guns on Campus Increase the Risk of Violence. Allowing guns on campuses has been shown to create a greater risk for both homicide and suicide. The American Association of State Colleges and Universities reports that college-age students experience some of the highest rates of serious mental illness. A Journal of American College Health study demonstrated that between 9% and 11% of college students seriously considered suicide in the previous school year and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that about 1,100 college students commit suicide each year. Access to guns makes suicide attempts more likely to be fatal– 85% of gun suicide attempts result in death—as illustrated by data from the U.S. Department of Education.
In addition to the risks of suicide, a 2002 study from the Journal of American College Health found that students who owned guns were more likely than non-gun-owning students to binge drink and then engage in risky activities “such as driving when under the influence of alcohol, vandalizing property, and having unprotected intercourse.”
Evidence suggests that permissive concealed gun carrying generally will increase crime. This fact belies any need for students, faculty, and visitors to carry guns on campus for self-defense or any other reason. READ MORE »