Idaho: The Seventh State In Which The Prof May “Shoot A Student”

Yesterday, Idaho Governor Butch Otter signed into law SB 1254, allowing the state’s 1,128 holders of enhanced concealed carry permits–as well as retired police officers–to carry firearms on public college and university campuses.

Good for them. Lame appeals to emotion aside–the Today show this morning called the bill “controversial”, and referenced an Idaho professor who penned a satirical letter in the New York Times called “When May I Shoot A Student?”–Idaho joins six other states that have long since allowed for concealed carry on campus by virtue of statute. Being seventh in line makes this measure less “controversial” and more “old hat”. What’s more, 22 other states allow each college or university to make their own decision regarding guns on campus. Meaning as many as 29 states have campuses that already allow teachers to “shoot a student” with guns they’ve legally carried into the building. Did opponents of Idaho’s bill bother to look past their own borders to these other states that have done the same thing already?

To the best of my knowledge, Idaho even creates an additional burden on presumptive carrying on campus that most of the other states don’t: only enhanced permit holders may do so. Enhanced permit holders must complete 8 hours of firearm training, including instruction on Idaho firearm laws, responsible use and self defense, and live fire training. Meaning these permit holders are safer than your average concealed permit holder.

Additionally, there’s only 1,128 of them in the entire state, and not all of them are in college. With tens of thousands of Idaho college students, there’s only a fraction who are over 21 and so able to even buy a handgun. Of those who are 21, a fraction of them will actually have one. Of that group, an even smaller number will take the time to obtain an enhanced permit, and from there, a smaller group yet will even be bothered to carry on a regular basis. In other words, the likelihood that campuses will suddenly transform into the lobby scene from The Matrix, replete with gun-brandishing co-eds at every turn dishing out a maelstrom of bullets, is vanishingly small.

I’ve written previously about the consequences of prohibiting students from carrying on campus, particularly women who find themselves on a playing field against a male attacker who is physically more imposing than his victim:

“In 2007, Amanda Collins, a student at the University of Nevada-Reno, was brutally raped a mere 50 feet from the campus police station. While she made it out alive, the perpetrator went on to rape two more, and kill another. Collins, like Fagan, had a concealed-weapon permit, but was similarly prohibited from carrying her pistol. I’m not saying if she had had her weapon that her attack could have been prevented, but I’m not not saying it, either.”

From the other article:

“I’ve never shaken the belief every time I hear of shootings in “gun free” zones that the Left would rather mourn over a dead body than allow citizens the opportunity to avert them with a gun. Prove me wrong. Because despite the fact that no gunman who has ever perpetrated a shooting in these zones has been deterred by the illegality of carrying a gun into them, the Left continues to live by the delusion that creating zones whereby guns aren’t allowed will keep people safe.”

I stand by both statements. All things being equal, women are at an inherit disadvantage when facing a male aggressor, and I see no compelling constitutional or moral argument stating that she ought be hamstrung from providing for her own defense just because it involves a firearm. We all pay lip service to the need to address the rash of assaults on campus, but when the subject of the good guys carrying firearms is broached–a right they have anywhere else–suddenly the morally “defensible” position is that it can’t be allowed? Thanks, but no thanks. I’ll pass.

Students are seniors by the time they’re able to buy a handgun, meaning that by the time they go through all the motions to obtain one and carry on campus, they’ll be on their way out. Given this fact, along with knowledge that (at least) six other states have already allowed their students to carry on campus without known difficulties, widespread criticisms surrounding Idaho’s bill aren’t ultimately supported by fact or experience.


About Michael Haugen

Michael Haugen is a full-spectrum conservative and recent graduate from Eastern Washington University (BS Biology). His main interests in politics and public policy center around health care, education and tax reform. He'll be returning to EWU in 2014 to complete a Master's degree in Public Administration. Follow him on Twitter: @HaugenTRA

One Response to “Idaho: The Seventh State In Which The Prof May “Shoot A Student””

  1. “…the Left would rather mourn over a dead body than allow citizens the opportunity to avert them with a gun.”

    I think that is dead-on right. They hate guns _more_ than they love protecting life. In schools like Newtown they hated guns more than they loved kids. That is a Liberal, pure and simple.



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