As it stands, the current Idaho statutes make it possible for school staff in the possession of an enhanced concealed carry license to be able to carry on campus subject to the local school board’s permission beforehand.
The bill cleared by the Idaho House won a massive approval vote in its favor by 52 against 18 on Thursday. However, the school staff could carry a gun even if the school board doesn’t approve. For Rep. Chad Christiansen the author of HB 122, the issue doesn’t pertain to local control but depends on the Second Amendment. He emphasizes that while the Idaho Sheriffs Association, state chiefs of police, and schools oppose the bill, his local sheriff Caribou County has lent its full support to it. “The bill is about school safety and our children”, Christensen insists while arguing: “Simply put, a firearm is a tool and I don’t understand its fear. A tool to help our children and save lives.”
The bill seeks to prevent schools from posting signs such as Gun-Free School Zone”. On one hand, House Education Chair Lance Clow, R-Twin Falls, asked Christensen whether the bill would allow the public at large to bring guns at school, to which the latter told no. It led Clow to question the provision which could be interpreted by the public as, “Don’t bring guns to schools.”
Christensen replied, “This wouldn’t apply in that case as a gun-free school zone. In my view, it would imply saying that you come inside the premises of our schools and shoot us. It needs to be thrashed.” Those opposing the bill argue that it is flawed and hinting at objections coming from police agencies and county sheriffs. The bill was also debated by Rep. Chris Mathias, D-Boise. He told: “Our school districts can authorize employees to carry firearms on school grounds as opposed by police chiefs and sheriffs with schools being exposed to the danger.
He spoke on the bill’s implication that staffers carrying a concealed gun would feel no moral obligation or duty in protecting children while putting schools to risk without any benefits.
He asked, “The bill is designed in such a way to nurture opportunities where a good guy with a gun can stop the bad guy with the gun. But, in the case, weapon holders don’t feel accountable or part of their duty to emulate our law enforcement officers, I see no point in exposing our children to all the hazards.
Countering the criticism, Christiansen tells on law enforcement has no duty as such to protect the individual citizen either. He inferred to the Supreme Court ruling in Castle Rock vs. Gonzales though there is a police presence in the former, Colorado was unable to enforce a restraining order and a woman saw her three children murdered by her estranged husband. He argues on law enforcers having no specific mandate to enforce the law.