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Approximately 200 demonstrators took to the Idaho Capitol steps in the midday hour of Feb. 27, aiming at the so-called "guns on campus
" bill. Organized by the Coalition to Keep Guns Off Campus and composed of educators, students and concerned members of the public, the demonstration voiced collective concern over the cost, feasibility and safety implications of the bill, which will be the topic of a House State Affairs Committee meeting at 8 a.m. Friday, Feb. 28.
"This will do nothing but take away from the success of our students at universities," said Associated Students of Boise State University Vice President Cassandra Sullivan.
To those who would argue that armed, law-abiding citizens act as crime deterrents and potential surrogates for police presence, she said, "You are not a member of law enforcement and to act as such is an extremely dangerous position to be in."
Karen Meyer held up a sign that read, "I am a licensed gun owner who opposes SB 1254. No guns on campus!"
Meyer said she opposes the bill because she feels Idaho's public colleges and universities would not be made safer by its passage, and that the bill would reflect poorly on Idaho.
"On campuses you have a lot of young people who have never been around guns in their lives," she said. "It doesn't put a good light on us."
Second Amendment advocates, led by the Boise State chapter of Young Americans for Liberty, staged a counter-demonstration of their own, holding signs and chanting slogans near the east side of the Capitol steps, occasionally getting into shouting matches with other demonstrators. Before the demonstration, BW
caught up with Nick Ferronato, who organized the counter-protest, who said that despite claims to the contrary, the presence of weapons in public places serves as a deterrent against crime.
"If you look at the statistics, everywhere there are more guns, more concealed weapons permits, more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens, there is less crime. If you look at the pockets like Chicago, New Orleans and New York, there's a lot of crime because criminals don't care about the law. All they care about is getting what they want," he said.