BOISE -- A Boise State University professor is once again making national headlines, this time criticizing a bill that would allow students to carry concealed weapons on Idaho's college campuses.
Greg Hampikian penned a Thursday opinion piece for the New York Times titled "When May I Shoot a Student?" The piece has gone viral in less than 24 hours, and is now being shared widely on Facebook and Twitter.
Hampikian, who heads the Idaho Innocence Project, is known for using DNA and other forensic evidence to defend Amanda Knox during her controversial 2011 murder trial in Italy.
The professor of biology and criminal justice at Boise State asks a simple question in his critical opinion piece: "When may I shoot a student?"
The possible answers he explores in the article could be seen as satirical, enlightening, or disturbing by various readers, depending on how they view the issue of guns on college campuses.
For example, Hampikian explores the idea of being "outgunned" by his students and asks for clear direction on when and how he can fight back.
"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."
The article is obviously written with a ridiculing tone and a sarcastic demeanor. Yet, the questions Hampikian raises throughout are quite serious.
"While our city police chief has expressed grave concerns about allowing guns on campus, I would point out that he already has one. I’m glad that you were not intimidated by him, and did not allow him to speak at the public hearing on the bill ..." he writes at one point.
Hampikian concludes his article with a final jab at Idaho state legislators.
"I want to applaud the Legislature’s courage. On a final note: I hope its members will consider my amendment for bulletproof office windows and faculty body armor in Boise State blue and orange."
What do supporters of Idaho's campus concealed guns bill think of the criticism?
We reached out to Idaho Senator Curt McKenzie, sponsor of Senate Bill 1254. McKenzie wasn't available for interview at the time this article was published.
However, the Nampa legislator is scheduled to present the bill to Idaho's House State Affairs Committee Friday morning.
If, and when, it passes, the bill would head to the full house for a vote and presumably to Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter for approval. The legislation passed the senate earlier this week.