Eye On Boise

House debate: 'Financial knee-capping of colleges,' 'Price of an individual's freedom'

Here’s some of the debate in the House this afternoon on SB 1254, the guns-on-campus bill:

Rep. Ilana Rubel, D-Boise, an attorney, said, “Idaho courts have found that restrictions on guns in schools are legitimate under the Idaho Constitution. … This is really just a question of policy.” She noted that the state’s public colleges and universities say it will cost them millions to comply with the bill, though the measure says it will have only a “de minimus” cost for signage. “Where are we going to find this money? This bill sure doesn’t provide it,” Rubel said. “And what’s the justification of this financial knee-capping of colleges? … Just to make an abstract philosophical statement?”

Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa, asked Rubel, “What do you think the price of an individual’s freedom and their personal safety is? What kind of price tag would you put on that?” Though both House Speaker Scott Bedke and House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, took issue with the question, Rubel said she was willing to answer it. “I have seen no indication that this bill would in any way improve anyone’s personal safety, so I think the question is a little bit moot,” she told Crane, adding that she thought it could be argued that the bill would actually reduce people’s safety.

Rep. Mat Erpelding, D-Boise, told the House, “So few people are asking for this. It wasn’t something that was a crisis to this Legislature in the first place. In fact, my district, the district that I represent, has emphatically rejected this legislation, and I know that other districts have emphatically rejected this legislation.” At the end of his comments, after mentioning problems like bullying, Erpelding said he thought right after this debate, the Legislature should “add the words,” referring to banning discrimination against gays; his comment prompted immediate objections from several House Republicans.

Rep. JoAn Wood, R-Rigby, told the House, “Ladies and gentlemen, you know where this is coming from. We’ve got people all across the United States who are very unhappy about the assault that has been coming for years on the ability to bear and keep arms and protect ourselves. Probably any one of you that’s tried to buy ammunition knows what is going on in the United States. This isn’t by accident, we all know that. We know that there is a certain feeling across the country that there needs to be much more control on arms. … Can you really blame us for taking tiny steps, which we’ve been doing for some time, to try to secure our right to defend ourselves?”




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Betsy Z. Russell





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