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Bob Kustra, President of Boise State University (courtesy

An email blast from Bob Kustra, President of Boise State University:

I know many of you have heard about the bill to remove from the State Board of Education and the administrations of public universities and colleges in Idaho the right, currently held, to prohibit weapons on their campuses. It has passed the Idaho Senate and now awaits a hearing in the House. I have very serious concerns about the bill and its implications and have spoken out against it in recent media. I should note that every public college and university president in our state and every member of the State Board of Education, with responsibility for K-20 schools in Idaho, also oppose the bill. I think it’s important for everyone in the Boise State family to know and understand my concerns about this bill . . .

An ‘Open Carry’ Law: This bill permits those with certain permits to carry concealed weapons on campus except in residence halls and in public entertainment facilities with seating capacity of 1000 or more. Naturally, folks are focusing on this being about concealed weapons being allowed on campus. But under Idaho law, anyone with a concealed carry permit can also openly carry a weapon.

So that means this bill would allow students and others to strap weapons openly on their hips or across their shoulders as they stroll across campus or enter their classrooms. Ironically, while they would be prohibited from carrying a concealed weapon into Bronco Stadium or the Morrison Center, we could not prohibit anyone with a permit from openly carrying their weapons into either of those venues or into Taco Bell Arena.

We have no idea how much this will affect booking entertainment and athletic events into Taco Bell Arena or conferences into the Student Union Building, but staff warns that it will surely have a chilling effect on these opportunities and revenues based on weapon-ban requirements by these groups in past booking contracts.

That is not the picture of Boise State University that any of us should need or want. The sponsor keeps saying this will not change campus life, but it surely will. What sort of message does this send about our schools and, indeed, our state? The bill also requires signage “conspicuously posted at each point of public ingress” throughout our campus implementing these changes. Again, what kind of message does this send about Boise, about Idaho and about our priorities?

Utah allows concealed weapons on campuses (most states do not) but even Utah does not permit open carrying of weapons on its public university campuses. In fact, of the handful of states that allow concealed carry on public campuses, none allow open carry of weapons as this bill allows.

A “basic right?” Sen. Curt MacKenzie, sponsor of the bill, claims this is about restoring a basic right, which implies that anyone opposed to this bill would be opposed to and is seeking to infringe upon the rights granted in the Second Amendment. Yet the United States Supreme Court, including its most conservative members, have recognized that firearms prohibitions in “schools and government buildings” and other “sensitive areas” could well be necessary and thus never extended constitutional protection against regulations or prohibitions when schools or government buildings are involved. Justice Scalia wrote in the Heller case that “nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on the longstanding …laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings…” In the McDonald case, Justice Alito added that the laws prohibiting weapons in schools and government building are valid and that the Court “repeat[s] those assurances here.”

It is also interesting that when universities are given a choice, as private schools are, they most always choose to be gun free on their campuses. Two prominent examples are BYU-Idaho and Northwest Nazarene University, the latter the school from which Sen. MacKenzie is an alumnus. This bill will not affect private school policies. Those “basic rights” purported by proponents will not be available there.

Unfunded mandate: It is currently unknown what regulations will be promulgated to guide universities in the implementation of this bill should it become law. But it is a certainty that it will lead to major expenditures in the arming and training of security forces; in the likelihood of needing metal detectors at residence hall entrances and entrances of other venues on campus where this law would prohibit concealed weapons. Early estimates from affected institutions from across the state are running into the millions of dollars with no state funding provided.

The bill likely would require such costly inspection measures because if we did not take these steps, we could be open to lawsuits for not enforcing the law and its restrictions. The immunity clause in the bill does not provide protection to the universities in those cases.

Loss of local control: This bill strips a critically important policy decision from the members of the State Board of Education, and from the locally elected trustees of community colleges from across Idaho. It imposes central control from the State Capitol that assumes one size will fit all in this matter, when certainly we are seeing how that is not the case as each university or college is realizing its particular problems with this bill.

Children unintended participants: Weapons, concealed or otherwise, are not allowed in Idaho’s elementary, middle and high schools. Yet children of these same ages are frequently on Boise State’s campus and cannot be kept separate from where guns would now be permitted.

The bill’s sponsor may be targeting universities in the belief that all students are aged 18 and above. This assumption misses completely our strong role and mission to serve youth of all ages. Since we have young people on our campus nearly constantly throughout the year, it is impossible to list all the occasions. For just one example, this week our Student Union is hosting the Idaho High School Student Council meetings involving 800 high school students from across the state.

It bears noting specifically that we operate a Children’s Center with 182 children annually ages 2 months to 6 years on campus.

In the summer, our campus is alive with young people participating in athletic and academic camps. During this time, they are all over campus including the Student Union and, often, residence halls. A partial list follows: Summer Chamber Music Camp; e-Camp; football, swim, volleyball, soccer, tennis, softball, cross country, lacrosse, gymnastics and wresting camps; DanceFest; Adventure Program, Youth Sports Program, Elementary-Level Academy, Literacy Academy, Morrison Center Performance Camps, Teen GameLab Design Camp, STEM Summer Adventure.

Law enforcement concerns: There are good reasons that the police force that provides our campus security is opposed to this bill. Boise Police Chief Mike Masterson was prohibited from offering testimony in the Senate State Affairs Committee chaired by the bill’s sponsor, but if he had been permitted to testify, he had planned to focus on the vast gulf in training between constantly drilled police officers and the “enhanced” concealed weapons permit holders, who go through one 8-hours class once every five years. He and other law enforcement leaders have pointed out the difficulty in having armed “good guys” and armed “bad guys” as law enforcement comes upon an emergency scene. It will be almost impossible for them to sort it out correctly and tragedy could well be the consequence if they cannot.

His prepared testimony included the following: “I’m here to oppose this legislation and am joined by virtually all police chiefs across the state policing Idaho’s college campuses as well as presenting a letter from Chief Dan Hall, president of the Idaho Chiefs of Police Association, opposing it as well.”

[h/t KS]

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  1. So… it seems like hes freaking specifically about open carry. Does that mean he would be cool with cc? Or is he just reaching for the low fruit?

    • actually its funny that he lies about open carry not being allowed on utah school grounds. it is absolutely allowed in colleges and k-12 public schools.

    • Because of the protection of open carry under the Idaho Constitution, he probably knows that the ban on openly carrying firearms on campus is on shaky ground. As for local control, what a joke–he’s not even from Idaho. He’s a transplant from Illinois, having served as Lt. Governor in Illinois, served in the Illinois legislature, as well as other university administrative positions in Illinois.

  2. I’m also amused by the bemoaning of “loss of local control”. This comes from the people who’d prefer the federal government banning everything gun related nationwide.

    • In typical communist Progressive fashion, he advocates whatever he wants and condemns whatever he opposes.

      Local control is fantastic when it works for him. Central (federal and/or state) control is fantastic when it works for him. Otherwise, both local control and central (federal and/or state) control are wrong.

  3. I also like that one of his objections is loss of revenue from arena attendance. His irrational fear is not just about safety, it’s about loss of profits!

  4. He named every reason he could except the one which matters: MONEY.

    Universities do two things. They research and sponsor scientific projects, and charge students a boatload of money to occasionally teach them new things. It’s no secret that every college in the country wants to boost their attendance and their student retention rates. If every person you served brought you $50,000 in revenue per annum, you’d do whatever it took to bring every body you could into your firm.

    So it goes for college. Remember the real profit isn’t in the tuition and fees alone, but the ancillary stuff like food, dorm fees, rent from off campus university apartment, meal plans at overpriced on campus eateries, and so forth.

    Now, picture your job as an admissions rep for an Idaho public college. You’ve got a family from New York City with three college age kids and deep pockets . How will you answer the question about guns on campus? Remember, these folks are bringing potentially $150,000 worth of business to the college- and they come from Communist NYC, where only Cops carry guns. Any answer besides ” we ban those evil things totally.” will be greeted with “fine , Mr Junior and his sister will be attending a DiFfEREnt COLLEGE!”.

    Bye bye $150,000 windfall. Good luck attracting researchers and star students from anti gun urban areas. Imagine the look on Mr and Mrs. New Jerseys’ faces when they see a student casually walking about with a Glock openly on their hip.

    It’s all about the money, and has nothing to do with campus safety or even the Constitution.

    • I beleive it is much more about ideology than it is about money. There are far more deep pockets who are people of the gun than there are that are ideologically committed to citizen disarmament.

      I looked hard for a campus that would allow concealed carry, when I was helping my daughter shop for a school. At that time, there were virtually none. Might have been a couple of private schools, but I did not find them. There are plenty of people of the gun to fill those three NYC slots.

    • Well, he does whine about money with regard to attendance at the university’s venue’s, but that’s pretty much nonsense, too. There’s no evidence out there that a net decrease in,attendance would result as anti’s start staying away because self-defense firearms are no longer prohibited.

      Any similar impact on university enrollment is ridiculous, too. With just 60 seconds of googling, I learned that all of Utah’s public colleges and universities are experiencing double digit growt in enrollment this decade.

      Ok, maybe New Yorkers and their ilk wouldn’t have gone to Utah, anyway, so we can’t look to Utah’s campus carry as typical. Maybe, maybe not. They would, however, go to Colorado, whose enrollments, I found, are similarly surging.

  5. A 2014 Idaho example of “I would rather be governed by the first 2,000 names in the Boston telephone directory than by the 2,000 people on the faculty of Harvard University (William F. Buckley, Jr.).”

    Is there any creature on the planet more gutless and illogical than a college administrator?

    • Perhaps only the doe-eyed “child” paying money to attend the institution and swallowing the preached drivel.

      Select your school wisely…

      • True. I do, however, give the adminstrators of public universities extra discredit for getting paid by the electorate to be sissies.

    • True, gutless and illogical; but he is also something worse; he’s tyrannical and dictatorial; and these are the people that are teaching the next generation of “youts” that are our future.

      You do realize people; Mccarthy was right; the Communists and Marxist were rampant all through academia. film and the media in the sixties; there is no other way the rot could spread so fast to become the wasteland of statist indoctrination that is our schools and universities of today.

    • I love how these administrators scream “local control, local control!!” while holding their hands out to the state for money. Take all the tax money they can get and refuse to listen to those who provided those funds? Who do they think they are, the Government?!

  6. As facepalm-stupid as this guy’s objections are, I can only wish we were having this kind of debate next door in WA. I don’t know that I’d carry daily on campus (and I wouldn’t do it openly anyway), but it sure would be nice to have the option.

    How ironic that in a place that’s normally clamoring about respect for all sorts of rights (both Constitutional and newly contrived), they’re so adamant about their right, as a public institution, to deny rights to the society they (purportedly) exist to serve.

    • It’s not illegal to carry on campus here in WA. But they could discipline you for doing so. When I used to walk two miles to Seattle U, I was willing to take the risk of expulsion over the risk of walking through First Hill unarmed at night.

      • …and this may be why you’re still around to talk about it.
        At Olympic College in Bremerton no one seemed to care, thankfully.

      • I’m pretty sure it’s prohibited by law on state campuses. Isn’t Seattle U. private? If so, that would be a different thing; state preemption would prevent them from prohibiting carry altogether, but if you’re a student they could still kick you out for violating their policy.

  7. “That is not the picture of Boise State University that any of us should need or want. The sponsor keeps saying this will not change campus life, but it surely will. ”

    (Sarc flag on!)

    “Everyone should prefer the state of willful ignorance we now enjoy. Allowing guns on campus will only complicate our currently under- and un-reported sexual assaults with messy so-called defensive-gun-uses. Clearly, this is the worst idea EVAR.”

  8. “I should note that every public college and university president in our state and every member of the State Board of Education, with responsibility for K-20 schools in Idaho, also oppose the bill.”

    So I guess that settles the issue, since no one else’s opinion matters after the elitists speak!

  9. His long-winded statement about “children unintended participants” simply implies that children would be in the presence of adults who carry guns. He doesn’t explain why that would be a bad thing or how that would make children “participants.”

    He could have boiled his whole e-mail down to “Bill bad. Because guns.”

    • Seriously. Presumably the children of Idaho leave their schools and go home at night, where the majority of households contain guns. I’m sure a few kids even go out in public now and then, where they “cannot be kept separate from where guns would now be permitted.” Oh, the horror!

  10. Again the entire argument is “but guns, in the open for others to see even!”. The response again, “so what?” Why they think hinging on the argument that guns are inherently evil is a good idea never ceases to baffle me.

  11. Funny he should mention BYU-Idaho. They have a no weapons policy as an extension of the LDS churches decision to not allow weapons (except for on duty police) in any of their places of worship. But I’d venture to say that the student body is overwhelmingly pro gun.

  12. “What sort of message does this send about our schools and, indeed, our state?”

    Ermmm … it sends the message that we recognize that self-defense is a personal responsibility, and not the responsibility of someone else?

    I think that’s a pretty good message.

  13. Any time somebody tries to take power from little tin gods in academe, they squeal like stuck pigs. It’s music to my ears.

    Here’s a thought: Parents, don’t send your children to Boise State or any other bottom tier school. All they’ll end up with after four years is a $150,000 diploma to hang on their wall, with no way of paying a mountain of debts.

    Here’s a better idea: Let your little snowflakes learn a skilled trade. A master electrician or plumber makes DOUBLE the money of a school teacher in Boise, and they don’t have to put up with Kustra’s bullsh1t.

  14. “But it is a certainty that it will lead to major expenditures in the arming and training of security forces; in the likelihood of needing metal detectors at residence hall entrances and entrances of other venues on campus where this law would prohibit concealed weapons.”

    So, current law already prohibits concealed carry in those places, but somehow the university will incur new major expenditures if that continues to be the case. If you don’t need metal detectors now, why would you need them if the bill passes? How could it possibly cost more to enforce a law in fewer places?

    • Because once the law passes, they will use taxpayer money to violently and viciously persecute any student that actually exercises said right.

    • That part of Kustra’s little rodomontade cracked me up.

      The guy seems to think he’s going to be literally under seige — as if this one little extension of liberty is all it will take to make those previously peaceful firearm carriers go all Santa Ana on his Alamo.

    • Because the right to bear arms makes him feel unsafe, and security theater makes him feel safe.

      And throwing a tantrum is what it is.

      • I guess it worked for him in the past.

        And I really do wish he and his ilk would keep on point and make it short. I keep falling asleep or losing focus before he asks for money.

  15. Correction: Utah state law DOES allow open carry on campus with a concealed carry permit. Hell, you can even open carry in elementary schools with a permit. The University of Utah has tried to impose its own ban on open carry but it is in contradiction with state law.

  16. It is always nice when these statist dictators start going on with their anti-gun, anti-freedom, anti-constitution diatribes. It is good to have living recent proof of why we cannot use facts or logic to reason with them. Higher education is packed with birds of the same feather, goosestepping in lockstep with the same group-think agendas. The only thing you can do is vote them away, create laws against them, laugh at them, or otherwise tear down their authority or stature. Oh — for the children, of course.

  17. Bob Kustra – former lt Governor of Illinois. Doesn’t that indicate he should be in prison?

    K-20?? Is that some new Obuma thing tied to Jr is a child until age 26?

  18. Didn’t hitler always choose gun free arena’s? I mean, if it’s good enough for hitler, shirley kustra would think its a good idea. I wouldn’t worry about bringing weapons into Taco Bell arena, I’d worry about someone lighting a match.

  19. He has that ” I am a liberal and know what’s best for everyone ” , look in his eyes , if you can read the eyes you know he has a cold heart also . Be prepared and ready. Keep your powder dry.

  20. If EVERYTHING is done in the name of the children, what care will they have to do anything for themselves? We are breeding a generation of entirely codependent serfs. God forbid any harm come to them and force them to learn something.

  21. This liberal clown really thinks that cops are better trained and because they are representatives of the government, that makes them more qualified to carry a firearm? Maybe someone needs to send President Kustra newspaper and TV articles of armed police abuse.

  22. I think open carry for the anti-gun folks is more about how the presence of open carry firearms will calm the people who question it and that it will deter crime and make a difference and become a acceptable practice. It has nothing to do with the children, as a matter of fact arguing against open carry is almost anti-children. Some gungrabbers may hold higher degrees and hold positions of power but they all seem to lack basic common sense.

  23. Kustra used to live about a mile from me. He was a Northwestern political science professor who we elected Republican state senator. He served as Illinois Lieutenant Governor 1991-1999. He was so bored with this do-nothing job that he had to be talked out of resigning to become a talk-show host. He lost a Republican primary to run for U.S. Senator. After his term expired, he went on to be president of Western Kentucky University and then to Boise State. His job is secure, since to football team is winning (and that’s all anyone cares about college administrators).

  24. Notice how Kustra conveniently ignores the 9th Circuit decision (Peruta v. San Diego) that says you cannot “regulate” a right out of existence? All the Idaho universities can do now to people carrying guns on campus is ask you to leave, and trespass you if you do not leave (if you are not a student). If you are a student or faculty member, they can expel/fire you, under the guise of “regulating” guns on campus.

    And if he is so concerned about guns on campus, why doesn’t he have armed campus cops and metal detectors on his “gun free” campus now? Because he doesn’t really care about the safety of the “university community”, he just is wetting his panties over the idea that he cannot continue be a dictator in his little ivory tower. So far, the only recent university shooting in Idaho was an Idaho State professor (in Moscow, ID) who killed a female graduate student that he had been screwing.

    Maybe Kustra is worried about female students being able to defend themselves from the faculty.

    What is really bugging the few Idaho libs about this bill is that it is a conservative litmus test for the GOP candidates in the upcoming primary election. Our Governor is facing a more-conservative challenger, so when this bill hits Gov. Otter’s desk he will either sign it or be tossed out in the primary. Love it.


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