Critics express concerns over guns on campus bill

Credit: Troy Colson/KTVB

Sen. Curt McKenzie, R-Boise

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by Karen Zatkulak

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KTVB.COM

Posted on February 25, 2014 at 5:20 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 25 at 7:17 PM

BOISE -- Students, professors, and citizens got the chance to voice their concerns Tuesday about the controversial guns on campus bill directly to the bill’s author.

The give and take with Sen. Curt McKenzie was part of an ongoing Politics for Lunch series in downtown Boise.

Nearly 100 people were there and all those who spoke out were against the legislation.

Senate Bill 1254 passed the Senate one week ago and is now in the House.

Meanwhile, while Idaho's university presidents and some local police leaders have expressed opposition to the legislation.

Today, we heard from professors, students, and members of the public adamantly against allowing guns on campus.

“It provides a limited right to carry,” said McKenzie.

Once again, McKenzie stood behind his bill to allow guns on campus.

The legislation would make it legal for law enforcement and Idahoans with an enhanced carry license to carry firearms in certain areas at colleges and universities.

He says the bill expresses our Second Amendment right.

“You have the right to carry as well, includes the right to bear arms and within society you do have that right,” said McKenzie.

But question after question this afternoon from those concerned about the issue attacked the legislation.

“How much grease did the NRA provide to the Legislature?” asked one opponent.

Professors said they wouldn't feel safe, and former students said the bill is not needed.

"I think about the years I was at BSU and being in the classrooms, and I think about students next to me having a gun, I don't think that's necessary or a good idea in a classroom," said Boise State alum Emily Walton.

"I just don't feel like the right to carry really should overstep public safety," said Cathy Griesmer.

The other big concern -- the fact that testimony at last week's hearing was cut off.

"In hindsight I would have continued to Friday and limited everyone to three minutes," said McKenzie.

Police leaders were unable to give their opinion at the hearing and many have spoken out against the legislation, along with Idaho's universities and colleges.

"Sounds a lot of people are voicing their opinions on this issue and legislators are not listening," said Cathy Griesmer.

The bill would not allow guns in dormitories or events with more than 1,000 people.

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