Boise's Masterson complains that police chiefs 'silenced' at gun hearing

broberts@idahostatesman.comFebruary 12, 2014 

Mike Masterson

State Sen. Curt McKenzie, R-Nampa, “effectively silenced” police leaders who were not given an opportunity to testify Wednesday on his bill permitting concealed weapons on Idaho campuses, says Boise Police Chief Mike Masterson.

The Boise chief, along with police chiefs from Nampa and Moscow - three cities with college campuses that would be affected by the bill - were not called upon to address the Senate State Affairs Committee, chaired by McKenzie.

Masterson, who opposed the bill, is chief of Idaho’s largest city, home to the state's largest university where Boise police must keep a presence and provide security.

“You would think I have something to say,” he said.

McKenzie said he did not try to silence police officers. He had more people to testify than there was time and he alternated pro and con. He also said he let university officials explain their concerns about the bill, and even let many of them go over the three-minute limit.

Masterson also was carrying a letter the Idaho Chiefs of Police Association objecting to the bill. He had intended to read it into the record.

“I am just appalled that a decision would be rushed through this quickly,” Masterson said.

The committee voted 7-2, along party lines, in support of the bill.

Idaho’s Fraternal Order of Police, which has 1,500 members and supports McKenzie’s bill, did testify.

Masterson said democracy failed Idahoans at the Capitol by not allowing for a more full airing of issues surrounding the bill.

“Where is our democracy today when police leaders directly responsible for developing policy and training for your safety are effectively silenced by the chair of a committee who introduced the bill himself,” Masterson asked.

McKenzie’s bill allows people with an enhanced concealed weapons permit to carry guns on campus, except in dormitories, residence halls and at entertain venues that seat more than 1,000 people.

An enhanced permit requires eight hours of training and must be recertified every five years.

That’s not good enough, Masterson said.

“I don’t see the type of training that is required as anywhere close to what it has to be for an enhanced concealed weapons permit,” he said.

If the bill passes the full Senate, it likely will go to House State Affairs committee, which also will hold hearings.

McKenzie has said he has enough votes in both houses to pass the bill. Gov. Butch Otter also supports it.

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