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Eye On Boise

Thu., March 6, 2014, 1:53 p.m.

Debate: ‘I want my kids safe,’ ‘I cannot go there’

More from today’s guns-on-campus bill debate in the House:

Rep. John Gannon, D-Boise, complimented House State Affairs Chairman Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, for how he ran the earlier committee hearing on the bill. “We were there for seven hours, we heard everyone who wanted to speak, and I learned a lot. I appreciate that,” Gannon said. He questioned whether Idaho adequately checks whether people who get concealed weapons permits suffer from a mental disability. “I want my kids safe,” he said. “I don’t want somebody coming on that campus with a gun and start shooting people.”

Rep. Lance Clow, R-Twin Falls, said, “I do not believe this bill does anything but establish a policy giving a few people comfort that they can carry on campus.” He said he supports gun rights, but raised a number of concerns about the bill as written. “This bill is constitutional. So is the law that it’s modifying,” Clow said.

Rep. Ken Andrus, R-Lava Hot Springs, said university officials “gave us some very compelling reasons to reject this bill.” He said, “I, like you, have received the emails, they’re overwhelmingly against this.” But he said he’s watched a video clip - “I’ve seen it more than once” – about a University of Nevada-Reno student who was raped at gunpoint in a campus parking lot, and who didn’t have her gun because they weren’t allowed on campus. “I cannot in good conscience vote to deny that young lady or any other person from the right to exercise the choice to defend themselves, when it is guaranteed in both the federal and state constitutions,” Andrus said. “I cannot go there, and I hope you cannot go there either.”

Rep. John Rusche, D-Lewiston, said, “Eighty percent of the firearm deaths in Idaho are self-inflicted gunshot wounds. The highest percentage of suicide attempts is in adolescent and young adult males. I think that’s a deadly combination that we’re setting ourselves up for.”

Rep. Jason Monks, R-Meridian, said if people can’t have guns on campus and they’re on campus regularly, that essentially bans them from having guns at all during their day. “What are they supposed to do with it?” he asked. “We’ve effectively said all week long, you’re not allowed to do it, and I don’t think the Constitution said that your right to bear arms was only on the weekends. Effectively that’s what we’re doing here. What are you supposed to do if you can’t take it with you in the morning, you’ve got no place to put it in the afternoon, you can’t go to the store, you can’t go to the restaurant afterward?”

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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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