Safety Not the Only Concern in Guns On Campus Bill
MOSCOW, Idaho - On Friday a senate committee in the Idaho Legislature will debate a bill to allow guns to be carried on university campuses. Safety concerns have made this a controversial topic on campuses but if the bill passes there could be other consequences.
"I believe students ought to have the option to decide if they want to take responsibility for their own safety," said Al Baker, co-author of proposed bill.
Al Baker is a law student at the University of Idaho and co-author of the bill. He says this is more than just students' ability to protect themselves, it's also in respect to our state constitution.
"They should have that same ability to do that they do off campus that they do at all other unsecure locations. There's no reason that when they cross an arbitrary boundary that should end," said Baker.
However state universities argue they know their students better than anyone else and are better judges on what constitutes as a safer environment.
"We need to continue to be given the flexibility and the authority to create the kind of safe environment," said Marty Peterson, University of Idaho.
If the bill passes anyone can carry a gun anywhere on campus with the exception of undergraduate housing. This includes sporting events and other activities. Universities in Idaho say aside from safety concerns money could also be lost. If students are allowed to openly carry guns on campus the NCAA could potentially not allow them to host tournaments and entertainers might not perform concerts. Potentially losing revenue from ticket sales.
"But it's almost disgusting in a way that we're willing to sit here and say well if we're going to lose concerts or we're going to lose a sporting event, that somehow trumps our basic right to self defense so I think it's a misplace value in priority," said Baker.
The NCAA hasn't given the universities a definitive answer yet on their policies involving guns openly carried at their events, so in the meantime the schools will continue to fight this bill.
"This is one that actually has public safety attached to it could well be a life or death situation," said Peterson.
Mike Perry contributed to this report
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