The presidents of all eight of Idaho’s public colleges and universities spoke out today against SB 1254, the bill to allow concealed guns on Idaho’s college campuses. They were joined by members of the state Board of Education, including board President Don Soltman, left, which this morning voted unanimously against the bill at a special meeting. University of Idaho President Don Burnett said research “does not demonstrate that safety would be enhanced by increasing the number of weapons on college campuses.” He said, “Moreover, many law enforcement experts are concerned that a proliferation of firearms will make response by law enforcement authorities in crisis situations more complicated and ultimately more dangerous.”
The college presidents “join with the state Board in respectfully and emphatically urging that the bill not be adopted,” Burnett said. Joe Dunlap, president of North Idaho College, said, “The colleges of Idaho currently have longstanding, locally developed policies that do not allow guns on campus.” He called the bill “a litmus test for local control,” saying the authority of colleges to regulate guns on their campuses shouldn’t be pre-empted by a state law like SB 1254.
Boise State University President Bob Kustra said, “There is no current problem or crisis to address on our state’s campuses that would be solved by this legislation. … We urge the Legislature to recognize the authority ad oversight of the Idaho State Board of Education and the many precautions Idaho’s public universities take to protect our students.” Several of the college presidents said if the bill proceeds to a hearing, they’ll come testify against it; it’s currently pending in the Senate State Affairs Committee.