After reading Bryce Dunham Zemberi's outrageously biased, so-called news article regarding guns on campus, I am compelled to respond. Let's get some facts straight:
1) Zemberi's ridiculous assertion that "Current Idaho law prohibits guns in classrooms, dormitories, parking lots and public areas such as the Morrison Center and Bronco Stadium" is flat-out incorrect. Current Idaho law only prohibits the carrying of unconcealed firearms in elementary and secondary schools, and concealed firearms additionally in courthouses or jails (Idaho Code 18-3302). Idaho's preemption law, which bans subdivisions of state government from enacting their own rules regarding the ownership or possession of firearms, contains an exception for university administrators to enact rules for students (IC 3302J). Consequently, a member of the public can legally come onto the campus carrying firearms, openly or concealed, but students run the risk of university discipline if they were to do the same thing.
2) There seems to be a perception of the author and several of the 10 interviewees (a truly representative sample, no doubt) that the mere presence of legal guns leads to crime. Nothing could be further from the truth. According to respected academic researcher John Lott, states that have enacted legislation permitting the carriage of concealed firearms have experienced an average drop in the murder rate of 1.7%, every year, for the last ten years. It is fully legal to carry concealed or unconcealed weapons in both banks and bars in Idaho, and yet we do not have a rash of bank robberies or bar fights escalating to the use of firearms. Many of us carry firearms every single day, but incredibly, are required to give up our constitutional rights when we step onto campus. I recently openly carried at the Western Idaho Fair, in full view of both Boise Police officers and Ada County Sheriff's Deputies, and was not hassled in any way - local police are aware of the law. Guess what? No one panicked, and no one got hurt. And, if on the extremely rare chance that an individual decided to illegally use their weapon for evil, I would have at least had a fighting chance of defending myself and those I care about.
3) Every single mass shooting in recent memory (Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, etc.) occurred in a gun-free zone. To a criminal, a gun-free zone means that his law-abiding victims have been helpfully disarmed in advance.
4) If someone is willing to commit a violent crime with a firearm, does any rational adult really think that person is going to worry about violating a silly university policy by carrying the weapon? The concept itself is absurd.
5) With all due respect to the sensibilities of students who may become queasy at the sight of a legally-carried firearm, the fact of the matter is that no one has a constitutional right to be comfortable. I do have an inviolable right to carry a firearm for personal protection, guaranteed to me by both the state and national constitutions, and protected under state law. It goes against some of the fundamental purposes of higher education, preparing students for the future and exposing them to new concepts, to create a bubble zone in which students are artificially "protected" from something they are likely to see merely by walking across Broadway, Beacon, Boise, or Capitol.
Finally, Mr. Zemberi's loaded phrases ("concerned about Broncos bearing bazookas," "pistol-pocketing Pete," etc.) do little to encourage a reasoned, rational debate on the issue, and quickly identify him as a pseudojournalist with an agenda. I suggest that the next time the Arbiter decides to publish an article on this important topic, they select a writer who is willing to actually do the research and is capable of writing objectively. Otherwise, it should appear in the opinion section.
In conclusion, the question Boise State University students should be asking themselves is, "Why is our administration doing everything possible to deny us the exercise of a civil right permitted to all other citizens?"
<my name>, senior, political science and history