The Republican who sponsored the bill said it was a “Second Amendment issue,” the Idaho Statesman reported.
“The Second Amendment right doesn’t stop at the door of a school. I trust Idahoans to be responsible,” state Rep. Chad Christensen said on the floor of the House.
“The Second Amendment right doesn’t stop at the door of a school. I trust Idahoans to be responsible.”
— Idaho state Rep. Chad Christensen
State Rep. Karey Hanks, another Republican, said she works in a school district and wants to be able to carry a gun “to be able to protect those students.”
Under the law, the gun owner would be required to notify the school’s principal and the superintendent of the concealed carry but would not have to tell anyone else. They would also be obligated to carry the weapon on their person at all times and have a concealed carry license.
Schools would also be required to remove “gun-free zone” signs that supporters of the bill claim make the school a target for a would-be shooter.
Supporters of the bill also point out that law enforcement in rural areas may not be able to respond quickly to a potential school shooting.
The law is opposed by school boards whose members say those decisions should happen at the local level.
Currently, school staff can carry a weapon only with the permission of the board, according to KMVT-TV in Twin Falls, Idaho.
Another Republican, state Rep. Marc Gibbs, says he’s a gun owner and supports the National Rifle Association but he voted against the bill because he doesn’t believe it requires enough skill of the carrier.
The only requirement under the bill is that the owner knows how to load and shoot the weapon.
State Rep. Chris Mathias, a Democrat, noted that the bill doesn’t require the carrier to take any action under threat of violence, which he claimed “undermines the entire premise of the bill” because some lawmakers have suggested the law would make children safer in a shooting.
“If weapon holders don’t have a duty to perform like our law enforcement officers do, what’s the point of exposing our children to all the risk?” he said, according to the Statesman.
The bill is also opposed by the Idaho Sheriff’s Association.
“We believe that the current law which allows individual school districts to decide what is the best way to protect their students is the way to go and that a one-size bill does not fit all districts in our state,” the sheriff’s statement said. “The sheriffs are not opposed to more guns in schools if in the hands of the right people, the right way.”
Twice before the bill has died before making it to the House floor, according to KMVT.
Forty states and Washington, D.C., prohibit concealed weapons on school grounds, according to the Statesman.