Colleges prepare for campus carry

Starting today, Idaho residents aged 21 and older can now carry a concealed weapon without a permit nearly anywhere in the state, including on college campuses.

Idaho Senate Bill 1389, which was passed earlier this year, is a revision of a previous Idaho statute, which already allowed concealed carry without a permit except in municipalities, within city limits, and other public areas that independently required a permit to carry.

To loosen restrictions on gun owners, the legislature repealed this clause through SB 1389. Despite some concern about a lack of required training for those who will conceal carry, Republican Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter signed it into law on March 25, allowing any resident 21 and over to carry a weapon without a permit or firearm training.

“The legislature hereby finds that the people of Idaho have reserved for themselves the right to keep and bear arms while granting the legislature the authority to regulate the carrying of weapons concealed,” SB 1389 declares in its opening section.

In 2014, Idaho passed similar legislation allowing students to carry concealed weapons on Idaho colleges campuses with a permit, Boise State Public Radio reports.

“As elected officials we have a sworn responsibility to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” Gov. Otter wrote, “not only when doing so is easy, convenient or without cost, but especially when it is not.”

[RELATED: Georgia profs worry they may be shot by students with concealed weapons]

Idaho’s move toward permitless carry, even on college campuses, is known as “constitutional carry,” or an unrestricted freedom to carry a weapon. Until 2003, only Vermont had retained the permitless constitutional carry laws that had been all but ubiquitous among states in the late 1700s, according to The Trace.

Idaho now joins nine other states that allow constitutional carry, The Washington Free Beacon reports, and becomes the seventh state to permit campus carry for college students. Only Alaska, Kansas, Maine, Vermont, Arizona, Arkansas, West Virginia, and Wyoming currently allow their residents to carry without a permit.

[RELATED: Idaho becomes seventh state to allow concealed carry on campuses]

Despite allowing residents to carry a firearm without training or a permit, however, SB 1389 still requires a carrying resident to be in lawful possession of the weapon. In addition, any Idaho resident between the ages of 18 and 21 who owns a legal firearm may only conceal it if they obtain a special license.

Idaho’s new concealed carry legislation comes exactly one month before Texas’ campus carry law goes into effect on August 1.

In June 2015, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the highly controversial Senate Bill 11, which allows all public Texas college and university students to carry a concealed weapon. Texas’ private colleges, however, may choose to opt out of the law and not participate.

[RELATED: UT profs call for repeal of Second Amendment in campus carry survey]

Of Texas’ 38 private universities, 34 will not allow campus carry. The other four have not made a decision and have until August 1 to opt in or out, reports The Texas Tribune.

[RELATED: UT campus carry task force urges schools to ban guns in as many places as possible]

In a letter to Idaho’s President of the Senate, Gov. Otter lauded SB 1389’s restoration of constitutional carry, but also expressed concerns about the lack of mandatory training, saying he hopes citizens will voluntarily enroll in gun safety classes anyway.

“I have consistently championed our citizens’ gun rights throughout my years in public office,” he said, “and I do so again today in signing Senate Bill 1389.” Without mandatory firearm training, however, Otter “encourage[s] anyone considering concealed carry to take advantage of gun safety training opportunities available from many reputable sources throughout Idaho” to supplement the state’s new gun rights.

(H/t: The Scroll)

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @jelawrence72