Gov. C.L."Butch" Otter on March 12 signed SB 1254, a measure permitting citizens over the age of 21 who possess Idaho's enhanced concealed carry permit to carry firearms on Idaho public college and university campuses. With Otter's signature, Idaho becomes the seventh state to permit law-abiding citizens to carry firearms for personal protection on college campuses.
By definition, SB 1254 is intended to "provide penalties for carrying concealed weapons under the influence of alcohol or drugs on a college campus; to revise the preemption of firearms regulation regarding college campuses; to provide authority of governing boards of public colleges and universities regarding firearms; and to provide civil immunity of colleges and universities allowing firearms."
The measure is expected to become effective May 21, 2014, or 60 days after the end of the current legislative session.
"The Constitution limits neither the reach nor the protection afforded to lawful carriers of firearms by the Second Amendment," Gov. Otter wrote in a letter directed to Idaho Senate President Brad Little on Wednesday. "Court precedent has empowered and circumstances have compelled government entities to carve out specific exceptions. This is not the circumstance to carve out another. I agree with the Legislature's determination that the burden of proving the necessity for such exceptions falls not to the citizens exercising their Second Amendment rights, but rather to any who would seek to limit them."
Idaho joins Colorado, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah, and Wisconsin—all states that currently have campus-carry provisions. Some additional states permit firearms to be stored inside locked vehicle while parked on public campuses. The Idaho law does not permit firearms in dormitory buildings or inside campus buildings hosting sporting competitions or similar event. However,it allows students in Idaho to exercise their right to self-defense while attending class, a right already available to their counterparts in Colorado and Utah.
"This is a major step forward for Idaho, and for our nation as a whole", Kurt Mueller, Students for Concealed Carry's Director of Public Relations said in a press release this week. "We have seen these policies in effect in other states without the massive negative consequences predicted by our opposition, and we have every expectation this will be Idaho's experience."