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Idaho Colleges Ask Lawmakers To Consider Fiscal Side Of Guns On Campus

Administrators at North Idaho College, a community college in Coeur d’Alene, have joined other state colleges and universities in opposing a proposal to allow guns on campus.
Jessica Robinson
/
Northwest News Network
Administrators at North Idaho College, a community college in Coeur d’Alene, have joined other state colleges and universities in opposing a proposal to allow guns on campus.

State colleges and universities across Idaho are appealing to state lawmakers' fiscally conservative side in an attempt to sideline a proposal to allow guns on campuses.

A House committee is scheduled to consider the bill Friday morning. But schools say it could cost hundreds of thousands – even millions – of dollars a year.

Idaho's higher ed institutions say allowing firearms on campus could require additional safety measures: armed security officers, stepped-up annual training, ballistic vests, and metal detectors for areas where guns would still be prohibited, like stadiums.

Boise State University calculates about an extra $2 million a year. Idaho State University estimates at least $1 million. North Idaho College put the additional cost at roughly a $250,000 per year.

“With the passage of this bill, you're putting millions of burden back to the institutions and primarily back to students and taxpayers.” said Mark Browning, a spokesman for the Coeur d'Alene-based school.

Idaho's Board of Education voted unanimously to oppose the measure. Effectively, the bill would remove campus anti-gun policies and allow people to bring concealed weapons to class.

Backers in the Idaho legislature say the change would improve safety by making it easier to thwart a shooter on campus.

Copyright 2014 Northwest News Network

Jessica Robinson
Jessica Robinson reported for four years from the Northwest News Network's bureau in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho as the network's Inland Northwest Correspondent. From the politics of wolves to mining regulation to small town gay rights movements, Jessica covered the economic, demographic and environmental trends that have shaped places east of the Cascades. Jessica left the Northwest News Network in 2015 for a move to Norway.