Idaho Colleges Ask Lawmakers To Consider Fiscal Side Of Guns On Campus

By Jessica Robinson

State colleges and universities across Idaho are appealing to state lawmakers' fiscally conservative side in an attempt to sideline a proposal to allow guns on campuses. A House committee is scheduled to consider the bill Friday morning. But schools say it could cost hundreds of thousands – even millions – of dollars a year.

Administrators at North Idaho College, a community college in Coeur d’Alene, have joined other state colleges and universities in opposing a proposal to allow guns on campus. Photo by Jessica RobinsonIdaho's higher ed institutions say allowing firearms on campus could require additional safety measures: armed security officers, stepped-up annual training, ballistic vests, and metal detectors for areas where guns would still be prohibited, like stadiums.

Boise State University calculates about an extra $2 million dollars a year. Idaho State University estimates at least a million. North Idaho College put the additional cost at roughly a quarter of a million a year. Mark Browning is a spokesman for the Coeur d'Alene-based school.

Mark Browning: “With the passage of this bill, you're putting millions of burden back to the institutions and primarily back to students and taxpayers.”

Idaho's Board of Education voted unanimously to oppose the measure. Effectively, the bill would remove campus anti-gun policies and allow people to bring concealed weapons to class. Backers in the Idaho legislature say the change would improve safety by making it easier to thwart a shooter on campus.


Photo: Administrators at North Idaho College, a community college in Coeur d’Alene, have joined other state colleges and universities in opposing a proposal to allow guns on campus. Photo by Jessica Robinson

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