Idaho becomes 9th state to mandate that people with permitted concealed handguns can have guns on college campuses

23 Mar , 2014  

Idaho now joins seven other states that to varying degrees allow permitted concealed handguns on college campuses. As I note below, if you include Pennsylvania, it is probably more correct to say that Idaho becomes the ninth state. On March 12th, Idaho governor Butch Otter signed a bill that will allow those with an enhanced concealed handgun permits to carry guns on college campuses after July 1st this year. The “enhanced” permits can only be issued to those 21 years of age and older and that there be eight hours of training, including at least 98 live rounds fired. The standard permits can in theory be issued to 18 to 20 year olds and for training they must receive the standard NRA training course, which could be completed in around 4 hours. Also those who have an honorable discharge from the military can obtain the standard permit without additional training. Other regulations include:

The bill does not allow concealed carry inside a dorm or residence hall, or inside an auditorium or stadium with seating for at least 1,000 people.
Nampa Sen. Curt McKenzie sponsored the bill. He says there’s language in the bill that allows college and university leaders to ban open carry of firearms on campuses. . . .

For other state rules:

Florida: In December, a Florida Appeals Court decided that universities couldn’t ban concealed handgun permit holders from storing their guns in their locked cars. Indeed, there was already at least one case where such a gun used to protect a student from an assault.

Colorado: In March 2012, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that the University of Colorado’s ban on concealed carry on their campuses violated the state concealed carry law. In August, 2012, the University of Colorado established special housing for students over 21 with a permit. Permitted concealed handguns were banned from all other dormitories. For the University of Colorado at Boulder, the main University of Colorado campus, the housing is provided off the main campus.

Colorado State University had allowed concealed carry since the law started in late 2003, though there was an attempt to change that policy in February 2010 when the Board of Governors of Colorado State University approved a ban. The ban was supposed to go into effect in August, 2010, but it was immediately challenged and a state appeals court declared it violated state law in April, 2010. More on the CSU policies prior to this court case is available here.

A copy of Colorado’s 2003 law is available here.

Kansas: While many universities are allowed to have the ban until 2017, it is expected that many will change their policies prior to that time.

Allows state agencies and local governments to continue banning concealed weapons through 2017, but it requires them to declare publicly they have developed plans for adequate security for their buildings.
Allows local school boards, state university presidents, and community and technical college boards to designate employees who are allowed to carry concealed guns in their buildings, whatever their policies for the general public.

A copy of Kansas’ law is available here.

Mississippi: The law went into effect on July 1, 2011. However, Inside Higher Education noted that even after the law was changed there were legal challenges: “It appears that colleges in Mississippi are proceeding as usual until the legal issues are resolved.

Oregon: In late September 2011, an Oregon Appeals court overturned the state university system ban on carrying permitted concealed handguns on campuses. State universities however believed that they had found other ways to get around the state law:

For example, the fine print on tickets to many sporting events often includes language that essentially requires the purchaser to agree not to bring firearms into a stadium or university property as a condition of buying the ticket. Most universities also include a firearms ban in the contracts students sign in order to live in campus residence halls. . . .

Earlier, in the wake of a similar court ruling affecting Oregon school districts, some districts have barred their employees, as a condition of employment, from carrying guns on school property. That type of rule also could be adopted by universities, Saunders said, noting that the appeals court upheld such employment-related rules.

Such rules conceivably could be extended to students as well. Universities also might impose rules prohibiting people who use or rent universities facilities from allowing people to carry guns, and a similar requirement could be written into contract with companies that provide services on campus. . . .

Pennsylvania: While Pennsylvania is not officially on this list, by May 2013, five universities in the state, Kutztown University, Shippensburg, Edinboro, Slippery Rock, and Millersville, now allowed concealed carry on their campuses (though they are still forbidden inside school buildings). Republican Governor Tom Corbett made a real difference here in making it possible to carry concealed handguns on public university grounds.

The policy change was made following a determination by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) that a blanket prohibition against the possession of weapons on campus is legally unenforceable. As a result, the presidents of Pennsylvania’s 14 state-owned universities were advised by attorneys from the state’s Office of General Counsel to review current weapons policies to ensure they are defensible in a court of law, PASSHE spokesman Kenn Marshall told FoxNews.com. “Basically, an outright weapons ban would not withstand a legal challenge,” Marshall said Friday . . . .

Whether the policies at the other 9 state schools can be enforced doesn’t appear to have been tested.

Utah: The state had a lot of back and forth legal battles over whether the state legislature can determine the gun policy for the universities. On September 8th, 2006, the Utah Supreme Court declared that university bans violated state law, though the University of Utah continued appealing through the federal courts.

The Utah Supreme Court on Sept. 8 rejected the argument that prohibiting firearms is part of the school’s power to control academic affairs, overturning a U. internal policy banning firearms. That ruling resolved only the state issues involved in the case, sending the case back to Kimball’s court.

U. President Michael Young sent a letter to faculty and students letting them know of the policy change. He detailed the laws regarding concealed weapons and assured the campus he will continue to work with the Legislature and federal courts system to keep the campus safe. . . .

After that event there were cases where students were clearly being allowed to carry guns on college campuses (KUTV had an article in April, 2007). Still as late as January 2011 it was clear that the University of Utah was still creating some difficulties for people who were openly carrying guns on school property.

Wisconsin: As part of Wisconsin’s law to grant permitted concealed handguns in 2011, it also allowed carrying concealed on college campuses. However, universities could post whether carry would be allowed.

David F. Giroux, a spokesman for the [University of Wisconsin] system, said that while there’s no mandate for each university to post signs, all the campus leaders “are unanimous in their belief that this is the best way to help preserve a safe learning and living environment.”

Giroux said the 26-campus system contains an estimated 12,000 entrances to buildings of all shapes, sizes and materials, making this relatively simple-sounding task a fairly vast undertaking. The universities will also need to make various amendments or changes to documents such as employee handbooks and residence hall contracts, clarifying the conditions under which concealed weapons are permitted. . . .

More information is available here from the National Council of State Legislatures. Excluding Florida from their list, 20 states ban carrying a concealed weapon on a college campus: California, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming.

A couple of other notes should be made:

Michigan State University: Since 2009, MSU trustees have allowed people to carry permitted concealed handguns on university grounds, though the guns are still banned in campus buildings.

Blue Ridge Community College in Virginia: Since 1995, students at the college have been allowed to carry concealed handguns on campus.


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