Letter: Gun bill

February 18, 2014 

Idaho Senate Bill 1254, known as the “guns on campus” bill, purports to provide for the safety of students, faculty and staff of state colleges and universities by allowing certain individuals to carry firearms on campus.

There have been some horrific incidents on U.S. college campuses, leading some to conclude that college violence is on the rise. However, as pointed out by Robert Birnbaum in a recent study, this is simply not true. The violent crime rate on college campuses has dropped significantly during the past 14 years and is currently about one-tenth of that observed in the general population.

American college campuses are very safe, they are getting safer and, as University of Idaho Interim President Don Burnett pointed out, Idaho’s post-secondary campuses are generally safer than campuses elsewhere.

This is not a matter of Second Amendment rights — the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the right to bear arms is appropriately regulated in places of special sensitivity. This is a matter of public policy and based upon the best evidence available, the Idaho State Board of Education, the presidents of our public institutions of higher education, and law enforcement professionals across Idaho agree SB1254 would be bad law.

Idaho citizens should seriously question if it will make our safe campuses any safer.

J. ANTHONY FERNANDEZ, president, Lewis-Clark State College

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