September 4, 2014
Idaho State University Shooting Has System Rethinking Concealed Carry Rules

An unintentional shooting in a chemistry class at Idaho State University has school officials rethinking the allowance of guns on campus with a concealed carry permit. During class, an assistant professor that carried a semiautomatic handgun was shocked when the gun went off in a classroom full of 20 students. No students were harmed in the shooting, but the assistant professor of chemistry at Idaho State University shot himself in the foot with the unexpected bullet.

No charges have been filed in the shooting, at this time. The instructor, yet to be named, had the gun in his possession, but not in a holster. It is unknown why or how the gun was able to discharge. The instructor's wounds were not life threatening and he was quickly released from medical care. He does carry an "enhanced concealed carry permit", which allows him to carry the gun on campus, according to Idaho state law.

University President Arthur Vailas released a statement in regards to the presence of the gun.

"Idaho State University is in compliance with the Idaho gun law. Yesterday's incident was an unfortunate accident,"
It is not yet known whether the instructor will receive any sort of formal punishment for the incident, but there is likely to be an internal administrative review to ensure the incident does not happen again.

The on campus enhanced conceal carry law went into effect on July 1st in Idaho. At that time, Steve Chatterton, the Idaho State University Director of Public Safety, had the following to say.

"Our objective is to maintain a safe and secure campus environment. We are increasing our officers' capabilities to respond,"
At around the same time, Arthur Vailas expressed his commitment to maintaining a safe place for students to learn and "will take every precaution necessary to ensure the continued safety."

With the shooting incident occurring in such a close proximity to students, and in a classroom with chemicals that are combustible, it is expected that the school's policy will be revisited and revised in the near future. Luckily, the single injury was minor and did not impact any students directly. Arthur Vailas objected the bill to allow concealed weapons on the university grounds, but did his best to support a safe environment after it passed, rather than attempt to fight a losing battle. The shooting might provide him with enough ammunition to revisit the bill altogether and find a way to reverse it.

What are your thoughts? Despite the unfortunate accident, is it a good idea to allow faculty to arm themselves, or is it better off to leave that to security and the police?

[Photo Courtesy: Doconomics]