On Tuesday, it became legal for folks at least 21 years of age to carry concealed weapons on Idaho’s college campuses. There are caveats. Some training, to get the concealed weapon permit, is required. Also, guns will be allowed in classrooms but not dorms or venues holding at least 1,000 people.
Recent news stories remind us of how nervous people closest to this are about the change. But we knew that already. When the Legislature, at the urging of the National Rifle Association, took this issue up during the recent session, opposition from those who spend their days on campus was nearly unanimous.
Idaho’s university presidents opposed the change. So did the entire GOP-appointed State Board of Education. Lawmakers heard from, and ignored, students, parents, faculty members, cops and campus security personnel.
These folks expressed concerns about the pressures of college on young and sometimes emotionally unstable students. They pointed out that the Samaritan with a gun often does more damage than good — or becomes a victim, as was the case in a recent Las Vegas shooting.
Despite public opposition, legislators did something they often decry. They created a solution in search of a problem.
We opposed this bill and lament the change. We also sincerely hope the NRA and lawmakers who supported it are correct — that allowing guns on campus will end up being much adieu about nothing.
Because if they are wrong, repeal of the law will not undo the damage done. And there will be nothing but sadness and despair in saying, “We told you so.”