Proposed Bill Would Prevent Idaho Schools From Restricting Guns On Campus

Feb 26, 2019

Rep. Chad Christensen, R-Ammon, discusses his bill to prevent school districts from restricting firearms on campus Tuesday in front of the State Affairs Committee of the Idaho House of Representatives.
Credit Heath Druzin / Boise State Public Radio

Lawmakers are considering a proposal that would allow anyone with an enhanced concealed carry permit to bring weapons onto public school grounds.

The bill, which would prevent Idaho public schools from restricting who can carry weapons on campus, was introduced by the Idaho House of Representative’s State Affairs Committee Tuesday, despite bi-partisan concerns.

Currently individual school boards can set their own firearms policy, but HB203 makes it state law that anyone with an enhanced concealed carry permit is allowed to bring weapons onto public school grounds and would also prevent administrators from asking permitted gun owners them if they’re armed.

Ammon Representative Chad Christensen introduced the bill.

“I believe schools are soft targets. Gun-free zones are soft targets for a would-be shooter,” he said.

Idahoans are allowed to carry concealed weapons without a permit. But to get an enhanced concealed carry permit you have to take a day-long firearms course.

Christensen’s bill would also bar administrators from disciplining staff who legally carry. It would not apply to private schools.

The crowd for the hearing was so large, it spilled into two overflow rooms. Many were from the gun control advocacy group, Moms Demand Action.

“We feel like they haven’t done their due diligence and this is a very dangerous bill and they’re not consulting with the people most impacted,” said Elana Story, Idaho Chapter Leader for the group.

Both Democrat and Republican lawmakers expressed concerns about the bill, including taking local control away from school districts. The bill must still get a public hearing to move to the House floor.

Shortly after the hearing, Christensen huddled with Idaho Second Amendment Alliance president Greg Pruett. Pruett’s group advocates for less restrictive gun laws and helped Christensen beat a long-time incumbent in the last election.

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