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Testimony: ‘Don’t want it in this special setting,’ ‘Local control,’ ‘More appealing to criminals’

Cassie Sullivan, BSU student body vice president, testifies against the guns-on-campus bill on Friday (Betsy Russell)
Cassie Sullivan, BSU student body vice president, testifies against the guns-on-campus bill on Friday (Betsy Russell)

In continuing testimony on SB 1254, the guns-on-campus bill, this morning:

Cassie Sullivan, vice president of the BSU Associated Students, said students oppose the bill; she delivered petitions with 2,500 signatures against it. “Every constituent that this affects has spoken to you and said that they are opposed to it,” she said. “People who are proud of our 2nd Amendment rights and want to support it, don’t want it in this special setting.”

Kent Nelson, general counsel for the University of Idaho, said, “We think this bill is bad policy and there are some challenges to the drafting. … The proposed law would introduce weapons on campus, without the ability to determine if the weapons are there properly or not.” He also said the wording would allow open carrying of guns on campus, saying, “The concealed carry permit is simply permission to conceal, it is not a requirement to do so.” Plus, he said, it would restrict campuses from their current discretion to authorize some people to carry guns.

Mark Browning, vice president of North Idaho College, said community colleges are “a unique creation in this state.” He said, “The people who lead those community colleges are five citizens, just like yourselves, elected, just like yourselves, by friends and neighbors. This bill … would significantly erode their ability to effectively govern and manage those campuses. … Local control and local authority is at stake here.”

Bryan Lovell, president of the state lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police and a sergeant with the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Department, spoke in favor of the bill. “Currently there’s nothing in place to stop a gunman or someone with a weapon or someone intent on breaking the law from entering a campus,” he said. “We believe … drawing a line that says no firearms” makes a place “more appealing to criminal intent.”

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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