|Matt Dorschel, (left)|
Last week, the University of Idaho – where concealed carry is legal – held a forum to discuss guns on campus. The main presenter was Matt Dorschel, university executive director for public safety and security. While the forum attracted only a few students and faculty, the policy presented was radical . . .
Dorschel said any firearm sighting is grounds to call 911 even if a person is not purposely showing their weapon. He said firearm holders have a responsibility to conceal their weapons and they are violating the university’s policy if they don’t.
Despite this strict interpretation of the concealed carry law, it is unclear what the repercussions might be if a carrier can prove they have a concealed carry permit and were not intentionally showing the firearm. Aside from being asked to conceal or remove the weapon, Nelson said it’s unlikely there would be any further punishment in these minor situations.
Back in September, Dorschel said essentially the same thing. From the uiargonaut.com:
Nelson said faculty should contact police even if they see a firearm for a brief moment.
“We will not question a decision to call 911,” he said.
This is very close to “SWATting” people who are legally carrying firearms. The article says that this is a “strict” interpretation of the law, but it goes far beyond that. Nothing in the law that I’ve read indicates that individuals with the enhanced permit have to conceal their firearms. The enhanced permit merely allows them to carry concealed weapons. It doesn’t require them to carry concealed weapons.
Idaho law does not prohibit the open carry of firearms, although the law allows open carry of firearms to be regulated on a college campus for people who do not have the enhanced concealed carry permit. The wording of the wording of he law which restricts the authority of public colleges and universities is clear:
(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of state law, this authority shall not extend to regulating or prohibiting the otherwise lawful possession, carrying or transporting of firearms or ammunition by persons licensed under section 18-3302H or 18-3302K, Idaho Code.
Neither 18-3302H or 18-3302K, referenced above, requires that holders of these permits carry their weapons concealed. That would be absurd. It would mean that they could never carry a rifle or shotgun, even while hunting. It would mean that they would be more restricted than people with ordinary permits or without permits at all, because they wouldn’t be allowed to carry weapons openly.
From the Idaho Constitution:
Idaho Constitution Article I, Section 11
The people have the right to keep and bear arms, which right shall not be abridged; but this provision shall not prevent the passage of laws to govern the carrying of weapons concealed on the person nor prevent passage of legislation providing minimum sentences for crimes committed while in possession of a firearm, nor prevent the passage of legislation providing penalties for the possession of firearms by a convicted felon, nor prevent the passage of any legislation punishing the use of a firearm. No law shall impose licensure, registration or special taxation on the ownership or possession of firearms or ammunition. Nor shall any law permit the confiscation of firearms, except those actually used in the commission of a felony.
The state constitution seems quite clear; open carry of firearms shall not be abridged, but the carry of weapons concealed on the person may be regulated by law.
Nonetheless, the UI policy maintains that the law specifically allows the university to prohibit the open carry of firearms on campus. From uidaho.edu:
Q 14. Does the new statute prohibit open carry of firearms on University property?
A – Yes. The law specifically allows the University to continue to prohibit open carry of firearms on University property. Open carry of firearms on University property is a violation of the Board of Regents and University policy.
However, the Q & A document never cites any applicable law that grants them the authority to ban the open carry of firearms by people with enhanced permits; they repeatedly only state that it is University policy.
People who go to the trouble of obtaining an enhanced permit are extremely law abiding. They don’t seek out trouble, but go to considerable lengths to avoid it. The permit is available to those from out of state, but the intricacies of the requirements effectively mean that you have to go to Idaho to obtain the permit if you are not a retired law enforcement officer.
The chances of someone challenging the absurd UI interpretation of the law are small. It’s unlikely that a retired black female FBI agent will stroll through the UI campus with an obviously unloaded hunting shotgun over her shoulder. Still, I think a YouTube video of such an event would be a hit.
Rights not exercised are rights lost. Perhaps an alum of UI would perform this act of strong, symbolic, political speech to show that the disarmenters and hoplophobes among UI officials are all hat, no cattle.
©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.