State Rep. Chad Christensen introduced the bill because he believes this would make schools safer.
“I believe schools are soft targets,” said Christensen to the Idaho Statesman. “Gun-free zones are soft targets for a would-be shooter.”
Currently, residents with enhanced permits can carry concealed on campuses. However, school districts can set their own firearm policies and prevent people from carrying on campuses. This bill, HB203, would require schools to allow those with enhanced permits to carry guns in schools. It would also ban administrators from punishing teachers and staff for legally carrying.
Idaho law allows concealed carry without a permit. However, to obtain an enhanced permit, gun owners must take a firearms course. This class covers safety, handling, transportation, storage, laws, techniques and much more.
There are, of course, numerous groups opposing the bill, many of which attended a committee hearing. Many are against the bill regardless, while others have issues with taking control away from school districts. This includes some Idaho lawmakers. The bill would not affect private schools.
A Case for Idaho Lawmakers
There are many arguments for allowing concealed carry in schools, especially for teachers and staff. The most recent being the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission’s recommendation of arming teachers to prevent school shootings. Studies show that gun free zones are where shooters typically attack. Also, the FBI has shown that citizens are often the best defense against active shooters, reducing loss of life in these incidents.
The debate will continue whether or not to allow guns in schools, with both sides taking hard stances. Even some gun owners who believe teachers should be armed don’t think citizens should be allowed to carry on campuses. However, many will always believe that the best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, and that armed law-bidding citizens are the best deterrent for crime.