Friday, February 28, 2014

Hailey police chief to testify on gun bill

Measure would guarantee gun rights on campuses


By GREG MOORE
Express Staff Writer

     Hailey Police Chief Jeff Gunter is scheduled to testify next week before a legislative committee considering a bill that would guarantee the rights of people to carry handguns on college campuses. Gunter said he is opposed to the bill.

     The bill was passed by the Idaho Senate on Feb. 18 and has been referred to the House State Affairs Committee. Gunter is scheduled to speak before the committee on Thursday, March 6.

     An unusual situation exists at the Community Campus in Hailey, where the College of Southern Idaho rents space from the Blaine County School District.  The building also houses Wood River High School’s technical education classroom and its construction academy. That mixture means it has elements of a college campus and of a public school.

     The same situation exists at CSI’s Gooding campus, which is at the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind, and at Meridian High School, where Idaho State University leases space.

     Under state and federal law, students are prohibited from carrying guns on school property.

     Gunter said he will point out to the committee that passage of the proposed bill would create conflicting laws.

     “I’m a supporter of the Second Amendment,” he said, “but I’m not in support of guns being on high school campuses.”

     Doug Maughan, CSI’s public relations director, said college administrators hope to claim exemption to the bill’s requirements for the Hailey and Gooding facilities. However, he said, they are concerned that CSI may be asked to leave those premises if the bill becomes law.              

     CSI Public Safety Director James Ellington said campus security officers do not carry guns. He said he talked to the Twin Falls Police Department last week about providing an increased presence on the campus if the bill becomes law, and will probably have a similar conversation with Gunter.

     “We believe the bill endangers more people than it protects,” Ellington said.

     CSI President Jeff Fox said at a trustees meeting Monday that if the bill passes, the college will have to spend about $150,000 per year to hire part-time armed security guards at its campuses.

     The Senate State Affairs Committee came under criticism two weeks ago when a two-and-a-half-hour hearing was closed before law enforcement officers had a chance to testify. Gunter said he has been assured that the House committee hearing will remain open until everyone who wishes to has testified.

     After being denied a chance to speak before the Senate committee, Boise Police Chief Michael Masterson spoke at a press conference in Boise. He called the bill “a solution in search of a nonexistent problem.” 

     “A far greater probability, as often seen through the media in headlines, is the immediate availability of a gun used in a highly emotional, angry response in a personal dispute,” he said. “And with that use comes the probability that innocents could be injured or killed. …

     “The other concern is how retired or off-duty police officers will react in a classroom of 275 students identifying a good gun and bad gun in a crisis situation that involves split-second decisions. … If a gun was produced, how in the world do you tell who’s the good gun?”




About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of mtexpress.com and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads





Copyright © 2014 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.