In Idaho, House lawmakers have passed a bill in a 52-18 vote that would expand existing laws to allow some school employees to carry concealed firearms without the need of school board permission. Idaho law already permits some staffers to bring weapons onto school grounds but this latest bill, entitled House Bill 122, would no longer require the approval of school boards to do so.
Rep. Chad Christensen, sponsor of the bill, argued constitutional rights do not get to be decided by school boards.
“I know in the past this has been an issue about local control,” Christensen told Idaho Ed News. “I don’t like any government to restrict our constitutional protections. This is a Second Amendment issue. For me, the Second Amendment right doesn’t stop at the door of a school.”
If the bill becomes law, carriers would be required to inform the school’s principal and the district superintendent of the presence of their firearm, information the principal and the district superintendent are free to share with the school board, however, the identity of employees carrying a firearm would remain confidential. Carriers are not compelled to share this information with anybody else and cannot be subject to disciplinary action for possessing a firearm.
Approved as a hopeful deterrent to the tragic school shootings that rock the nation all too often, supporters of the bill believe permitting concealed carry on schools provides a potentially life-saving line of defense for children. When every second counts, waiting on the police and having someone with a firearm already in the school could be the difference of lives.
“If [this bill] can save 10 lives, five lives … it’s worth it,” Christensen said.
However, some critics think the decision should be left up to elected and possibly more trustworthy school boards, not the state itself.
“Those are elected officials from our communities,” Rep. Sally Toone told local outlet KTVB in an interview. “I don’t think as a state we should be overstepping what those local elected officials already have the right to do.”
The bill now heads off to the Senate and, if approved, to the desk of Gov. Brad Little, who has given little indication of whether or not he will sign the bill into law. Little, a Republican, has voted towards the expansion of concealed carry in the state of Idaho.