This week in dumb ideas: Let’s bring our guns to class


Every time I think state legislatures have reached the limit of really stupid ideas, I’m proven wrong. In recent years we’ve had idiotic proposals to limit access to women’s health clinics in Texas; in Michigan, a law requiring women to have “rape insurance” goes into effect; and in Oklahoma they passed a law outlawing Sharia law (as if that was even necessary. But this month, from the great state of Idaho comes a law so ill-conceived only a complete lunatic would love it.
Apparently, in their infinite wisdom, the state legislature there decided that what’s really missing from Idaho’s colleges and universities is a body count.
Well, that’s not what they said, it’s just what the end result will be. Effective July 1, a new law goes into effect that will allow students to carry concealed firearms on campus.
You read that right – in Idaho it will be legal, if you have a concealed carry license, to bring your gun to class. You know, just in case a gun-toting lunatic decides to shoot up the school.
I can’t imagine the thought process that went into this decision. It was probably a combination of the usual right-wing platitudes about safety and self-defense, with an unhealthy dose of nonsense about “responsible gun owners” thrown in.
The law passed over the objections of every university president in Idaho. You’d think such expert witnesses – you know, the people who will have to deal with the fallout of this nightmare – would have carried some weight, but apparently rational thought is considered taboo in Idaho.
Schools are currently trying to work out the security implications of the new law. Hopefully, they’ll adopt alcohol bans on campuses in the wake of this, but I’m not holding out much hope. We wouldn’t want to interfere with students’ civil liberties, after all.
The proposal prompted one professor to write a letter to the “New York Times” entitled “When may I shoot a student?” Though written in a thoroughly tongue-in-cheek tone, its intent was serious. If a professor is going to be in the position of explaining to high-strung, stressed-out and now potentially armed students why they didn’t get a better grade on their mid-terms, he needs to know what the rules of engagement are.
And does the new law apply only to students, or can faculty and staff pack heat as well? Where does it end, other than in tragedy?
But it’s Idaho, you say. It can’t happen here.
Not so fast. Thanks to shadowy conservative influence groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and others, bad ideas tend to spread through state legislatures like herpes at Fort Lauderdale during Spring Break. It’s only a matter of time before this nightmare scenario comes to Nebraska.
I can only hope that if it does, saner heads will prevail and it will die the miserable death it deserves.