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.