BOISE, ID – Earlier today, Idaho Governor, C.L. “Butch” Otter, signed S. 1254, legislation that will force colleges and universities to allow the carrying of guns on campus (openly and concealed).

Senate Bill 1254 will allow certain individuals to carry loaded guns in places that include: campus grounds, academic buildings, libraries, and student recreation centers if they hold less than 1,000 people.

Said Andy Pelosi, director of the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus, “Today, Governor Otter turned a deaf ear to the voices of the multitude of students and faculty, the unified voice of Idaho’s higher education community, and the Idaho’s Chiefs of Police Association, who together, strongly opposed allowing guns on campus.  In his message to the Senate President, Governor Otter suggests that the 2nd Amendment extends outside of the home and allows people to carry weapons on public campuses. Specifically, he stated, “The Constitution limits neither the reach nor the protection afforded to lawful carriers of firearms by the Second Amendment. Court precedent has empowered and circumstances have compelled government entities to carve out specific exceptions. This is not the circumstance to carve out another”.  Governor Otter’s rationale for forbidding colleges to take the necessary steps to protect public safety flies in the face of what Justice Scalia said, in part, in the Heller case: “Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose… The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings…”  We believe that prohibiting the carrying of weapons (concealed or openly) on campus is just the type of circumstance that the Court would uphold based on the Heller and McDonald decisions.”

Julie Gavran, The Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus’ Western Director noted, “It is disheartening to see the lack of common sense Governor Otter showed today by signing Senate Bill 1254.  In his closing remarks to the Senate President, Gov. Otter stated “We all will be watching closely to ensure the interests of Idaho citizens are served while their constitutional freedoms are protected” is a contradiction at best.  Additionally, Gov. Otter claims that the “difficulties and costs” will be monitored but since suicides, threats, intimidation, and accidental discharges, by law, do not have to be reported, we will never know the true costs and difficulties Idaho colleges and universities will face.  Today, Gov. Otter blatantly disregarded experts in campus safety, law enforcement, university presidents, faculty, students, and more importantly, the families of those lost to gun violence and is an insult to the education community and environment.”

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The Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus was founded in 2008 to urge colleges and universities to band together to oppose the gun lobby’s agenda to push guns onto college campuses. To date, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and more than 365 colleges and universities in 41 states have joined the Campaign. Click to view list.

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