BOISE -- The guns on campus bill passed the Idaho House Thursday, and now heads to the Governor Butch Otter's desk, just one step away from becoming Idaho law. The bill has been met with ardent opinions on both sides, and though debate in the legislature is over, some law enforcement officials are still debating what will happen if the Governor signs the bill.
With multiple college or university campuses in his jurisdiction, Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue has taken a strong stand against legislation to allow guns on college and university campuses.
I don't think it's been properly vetted, in terms of what the potential ramifications are, said Donahue. I think some of those ramifications we know, and some we don't know, which is concerning.
Donahue is worried about conflicts between this potential law and federal law, and says the state laws about concealed carry are a shaky foundation for this bill.
We're having problems as sheriffs working with the Enhanced CCW bill that was put into effect last July because there is no checks and balances on who is teaching that class, he said. I'm a very staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, I just think that we're pushing this too far too fast.
Donahue is also concerned about colleges that share a campus with grade schools, like Idaho State University and Renaissance High School who share a campus in Meridian.
Boise State President, Dr. Bob Kustra sent KTVB the following statement:
We are deeply disappointed that the majority in the Idaho House have not listened to the unanimous position of the members of the State Board of Education, every public university and college leader, and parent and student groups from around the state. We urge Governor Otter to veto this bill and recognize the authority the Idaho Constitution has vested in members of the State Board of Education who are appointed to govern our public universities and colleges in Idaho.
Adams County Sheriff Ryan Zollman has spoken out in support of the bill. For Zollman, it's about more than guns on campus, but also defending the right to bear arms.
I personally support it because I believe that it is another tool to protect our Second Amendment rights, said Zollman. Two, its a level of protection for the citizens and residents of Adams County as well as other citizens and residents by giving them, if they so choose, a level of defense for self protection.
There are no colleges or universities in Adams County, but Sheriff Zollman said the pros outweigh the cons, and he believes the bill is well-written.
It prohibits the carrying in dorms, it prohibits the carrying in large facilities for entertainment, facilities over 1,000 people, said Zollman. You're required to take a class, so it's not going to be just any random person can pick up a gun and carry it concealed on campus. So I believe it was written well and I believe it was written for the protection of the staff, and for the protection of the students on campus.
While there is some disagreement between law enforcement officials, the House Democrats stood united against the guns on campus bill. All 13 of them voted no, along with six Republicans.