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No, Idaho, Letting Students and Professors Have Guns Won’t Make Campuses Safer

No, Idaho, Letting Students and Professors Have Guns Won’t Make Campuses Safer

Idaho lawmakers on March 6 approved a measure allowing concealed guns to be carried onto university and college campuses.

What on earth were they thinking?

The legislation cleared the state House of Representatives by a 50-19 vote and was overwhelmingly approved by the state Senate last month; it is likely to be signed into law by Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter.

This will make Idaho the seventh U.S. state that allows guns on college campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

After so many shootings at schools, movie theaters and other public places, what were those lawmakers in Idaho thinking?

Under the legislation, those who gain a so-called enhanced concealed-carry permit in Idaho can carry firearms on campus except in such places as residence halls and public entertainment facilities like football stadiums.

Anyone who passes an eight-hour gun training course provided by a National Rifle Association instructor would be eligible to apply for the permit.

Boise State University President Bob Kustra fought to see the bill defeated, claiming it would endanger college-age students as well as younger students who visit the school.

But — surprise, surprise! — Republican lawmakers sponsoring the legislation and the Idaho Sheriffs’ Association supporting it argued that it would enhance campus safety and bolster gun rights spelled out in the U.S. constitution.

This fascinating response to the decision came from a professor at Idaho State:

I am a biology professor, not a lawyer, and I had never considered bringing a gun to work until now. But since many of my students are likely to be armed, I thought it would be a good idea to even the playing field.

I have had encounters with disgruntled students over the years, some of whom seemed quite upset, but I always assumed that when they reached into their backpacks they were going for a pencil. Since I carry a pen to lecture, I did not feel outgunned; and because there are no working sharpeners in the lecture hall, the most they could get off is a single point. But now that we’ll all be packing heat, I would like legal instruction in the rules of classroom engagement.

(…..)

I assume that if a student shoots first, I am allowed to empty my clip; but given the velocity of firearms, and my aging reflexes, I’d like to be proactive. For example, if I am working out a long equation on the board and several students try to correct me using their laser sights, am I allowed to fire a warning shot?

In response to a similar incident in Dunblane, Scotland, the U.K. banned handguns altogether. The result was not an increase in such incidents — rather no such incident has happened since the 1996 shooting.

More guns doesn’t mean more safety, particularly on campus. Just another dumb law.

And as a teacher, I find this terrifying. I don’t know how you would be an effective teacher if you had to worry about guns in the hands of “kids” who often feel their whole lives balance on a single grade, or single relationship, or single mistake.

It’s possible I am biased since I grew up in the U.K., but let’s look at some facts here:

The Guardian reports that the U.S. has the highest gun ownership rate in the world – an average of 88 per 100 people. England and Wales, by comparison have an average of 6.2 per 100 people. As a result, 31,347 Americans were killed by guns in 2009, while the 2008 figure for the UK was 39.

The NRA is undoubtedly one of the most powerful lobbying organisations in the U.S., and it is not hesitant to divert campaign contributions to defeat advocates of gun control.

All of this means that the decision by the Idaho legislature is terrifying.

More guns do not make for a safer world; it’s actually quite the opposite.

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176 comments

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4:50PM PDT on Mar 28, 2014

"Take away all the guns and the society will be much safer. If I want to rape you, I will approach you from behind and put a knife right on your neck, and your gun will be of no use. Same goes with killing you. Lots of people have been hurt by their own guns, lots of children have been killed by their parents' guns. Guns don't do much good other than feeding the ego and acting as cocaine to a paranoid society! Take away the guns, kill the second amendment and start seeing your fellow citizens as brothers and sisters rather than potential murderers and rapists(!!!), and the crime rates will drop drastically in a century. And licenses don't work, as people can get all messed up After getting their license. Besides, gun is far more fatal than knife or other objects. Arguments against guns are endless!"

How do you plan to remove the right to keep and bear arms from the Federal constitution without violence between citizens and government?

How do you propose to remove all guns from the USA when the government cannot prevent narcotics from freely flowing across the border? Guns are very easy to manufacture, so how will you prevent that?

9:55PM PDT on Mar 27, 2014

"Are concealed carry permit holders merely criminals with paperwork as far as you're concerned?"

Take away all the guns and the society will be much safer. If I want to rape you, I will approach you from behind and put a knife right on your neck, and your gun will be of no use. Same goes with killing you. Lots of people have been hurt by their own guns, lots of children have been killed by their parents' guns. Guns don't do much good other than feeding the ego and acting as cocaine to a paranoid society! Take away the guns, kill the second amendment and start seeing your fellow citizens as brothers and sisters rather than potential murderers and rapists(!!!), and the crime rates will drop drastically in a century. And licenses don't work, as people can get all messed up After getting their license. Besides, gun is far more fatal than knife or other objects. Arguments against guns are endless!

2:53PM PDT on Mar 17, 2014

"indeed, what a dumb law!! I hadn't, until this moment, thought about the places I go and how easily people around me could be armed. On buses, at school, in the grocery store, at a mall, etc. how frightening is this casual murder that could easily move into anybody's life."

Are concealed carry permit holders merely criminals with paperwork as far as you're concerned?

So people who lawfully carry concealed are going to commit murder? Have you thought about intent and that law abiding citizens do not go around murdering people for trivial reasons? Perhaps you do not understand that there is a consequence for doing so, but I assure you, there are serious legal consequences to unlawful use of weapons. You could even check Idaho's statutes and find out what they are and the requirements for lawful self-defense.

11:09AM PDT on Mar 17, 2014

indeed, what a dumb law!! I hadn't, until this moment, thought about the places I go and how easily people around me could be armed. On buses, at school, in the grocery store, at a mall, etc. how frightening is this casual murder that could easily move into anybody's life.

7:57AM PDT on Mar 17, 2014

Rolf, could you rewrite your comment about gun-free zones in English? If living in a gun-free environment is so dangerous, why don't I hear about lots of people being gunned down here in Canada?

2:39AM PDT on Mar 17, 2014

ty

8:12PM PDT on Mar 16, 2014

America, you haven't a clue how fast you are going down the drain....

5:54PM PDT on Mar 16, 2014

ROLF P. I have read some of your commentary, and trust me, you are no Rhodes Scholar.
This is Care2, not English 101.

11:40AM PDT on Mar 16, 2014

Just on a side note, many of you on this blog need to take some writing classes. Sure hope you don't talk like you write because clearly not only can't you write but you can't talk either.

11:33AM PDT on Mar 16, 2014

After so many shootings at schools, movie theaters and other public places, what were those lawmakers in Idaho thinking? For once they ARE thinking, Gun Free Zones promote hideous crimes, for those that afraid of Guns don't own one and put BIG ASS Sign in your front yards letting the world know you don't have any Guns and see how safe you really are. MORONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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