NIC officials worried about guns on campus bill



Posted on March 7, 2014 at 7:53 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 7 at 8:00 PM

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho. -- The governor's signature is all that stands between the guns on campus bill becoming law in Idaho.

The controversial bill would allow retired law enforcement officers and people with enhanced concealed carry permits to carry guns on college campuses in Idaho.  The bill is headed to governor Butch Otter for his approval.  Lawmakers in the state house Thursday passed the bill on a 50 to 19 vote.

The bill has drawn sharp criticism from both higher education and some law enforcement officials.  They say with the passage of the bill, they are now going to be spending an extra quarter of a million dollars on security costs.

"The biggest concern for us is that there's an absolute on our campus right now,” said Graydon Stanley, VP of Student Services at North Idaho College.  “We've had it play out in a couple of scenarios this year, and that is that if somebody has a gun, and they're not in uniform, they're a bad guy."

NIC Student Body President Benaiah Cheevers also opposes the measure.

"I wouldn't trust everyone personally. I would question whether or not that person was qualified to be carrying or to respond in a worst-case scenario," said Cheevers.

The bill does, however, prohibit guns from being brought into dorms and places like sports stadiums.

Meanwhile, NIC is bracing for an increase in security costs to the tune of nearly $300,000.

 "It's going to be, ‘what do we take away from,’” said Stanley.  “Do we take away from instruction, do we take away from activities, [or] do we take away from student services so we can provide the level of security that we think we need to have now?”

NIC officials said they were already looking into adding a school resource officer, someone from law enforcement, or possibly arming their security guards.