Remington, makers of America's most popular hunting rifles, has reached a nationwide settlement involving claims that many of its Model 700 bolt-action hunting rifles had defective trigger mechanisms. The settlement, which is expected to recall millions of weapons, is one of three class-action suits filed against Remington involving the Model 700.
One of the claimants, Loren Korpi, an Oregon resident, filed suit in a Boise courtroom in September 2013, when he said a Remington 700 fired without touching the trigger when he was hunting in Elmore County in October 2012. The bullet reportedly traveled through Korpi's leg, ankle and foot, causing permanent injury.
The recent settlement also involved numerous hunting incidents throughout the country, including a 9-year-old boy who was killed when his mother released a safety on Model 700 Remington as she prepared to unload her weapon.
Attorneys for Remington have yet to comment officially on the formal "notice of settlement" that was filed last year in a Missouri federal court.
While much of the Treasure Valley media focused on the Idaho State Board of Education's review of Albertson paying $12.5 million to Boise State University for the naming rights of Bronco Stadium, the State Board also approved a new firearms-on-campus policy.
Meeting in Idaho Falls Wednesday and again today, the ISBE approved an amendment to its campus safety policy for four-year public institutions. The updated policy makes it clear that firearms are allowed on campus only as described in section 18-3309(2), or as allowed by the institution as part of an event or program approved by the institution president.
Idaho Code is about to be updated Tuesday, July 1, when the guns-on-campus law goes into full effect. Idaho universities will continue to ban openly carried weapons, but concealed weapons in and around campuses will become the new normal. Boise State officials are quick to point out that all weapons will be banned in student housing, as well as in entertainment venues, including the Student Union Building, Bronco Stadium, Taco Bell Arena and Morrison Center.
But most of Idaho's public university campuses are relatively quiet during the summer months, and beginning Aug. 13, university officials are expected to stand before the board and update the panel on their new security plans in the shadow of the law, which by then will be more than one month old.
A gun control advocacy group is lauding national business chains' request to customers that they leave their guns at home.
In a press release, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America commended Sonic Drive-In and Chili's Grill & Bar for responding to its petition asking customers not to bring guns into restaurants, cafes and other commercial ventures. Sonic and Chili's are the two latest such businesses that have changed their policies on guns in response to a MDA petition; others include Chipotle Starbucks and Jack in the Box. Facebook and Instagram have also pledged to combat gun sales on their online forums.
"Moms are grateful to Sonic and Brinker International, which includes Chili’s Grill & Bar, for taking action and standing up for the safety and security of our families—we are heartened that we can take our children to these family-oriented restaurants and not worry about being confronted by customers with semiautomatic rifles,” said MDAGSA founder Shannon Watts.
In a statement released by Chipotle, the Tex-Mex chain changed its policy toward openly carried firearms after a demonstration in Texas during which open carry advocates brought guns, including assault rifles, into a Chipotle location, "causing many of our customers anxiety and discomfort."
"We are respectfully asking that customers not bring guns into our restaurants, unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel," the statement read.
Chipotle, which recently swung the doors open to its newest location in Boise's downtown core, is asking that its customers please leave their firearms at home ... or at least in the car.
Officials with the Denver-based chain said Monday evening that they have abided by local and state laws regarding firearms, but things got a bit out of hand this past weekend when members of Open Carry Texas made a point of hauling their guns into several Chipotle restaurants in the Lone Star State.
"We had all different types of long-guns, some people had shot guns," Alex Clark of Open Carry Texas told KRLD-TV. "I personally carry an AK-47. There were a few AR-15's there. The rifles were loaded. There's no reason to carry an unloaded weapon—it wouldn't do any good."
A social media campaign, launched by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, praised Chipotle Monday night, tweeting out a photograph of a child holding a bag full of Chipotle goodies and a button reading "Moms Demand Action." The Chipotle bag also includes one of the company's brands: "Never Underestimate the Power of the Burrito."
"Because the display of firearms in our restaurants has now created an environment that is potentially intimidating or uncomfortable for many of our customers, we think it is time to make this request," wrote Chipotle communications director Chris Arnold. "We are respectfully asking that customers not bring guns into our restaurants, unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel."
Here's more of the company's statement:
"We acknowledge that there are strong arguments on both sides of this issue. We have seen those differing positions expressed in the wake of this event in Texas, where pro-gun customers have contacted us to applaud our support of the Second Amendment, and anti-gun customers have expressed concern over the visible display of military-style assault rifles in restaurants where families are eating. The vast majority of gun owners are responsible citizens and we appreciate them honoring this request. And we hope that our customers who oppose the carrying of guns in public agree with us that it is the role of elected officials and the legislative process to set policy in this area, not the role of businesses like Chipotle."
Cassia County Sheriff Jay Heward is offering enhanced concealed-carry permit training for free, the Times-News reports. The course normally costs $150, but Heward told the press his office will offer three such courses for free, capped at 18-20 participants, in 2014.
"It's a lot of fun, and it helps a lot of first-timers get familiarized with their weapon," he said.
Trainees are required to fire 98 rounds under the supervision of a law enforcement official, as well as extend their knowledge of their Second Amendment rights beyond what is required in a basic concealed-carry class. The permits allows holders to concealed carry in five other states: Nevada, New Mexico, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington.
Enhanced concealed-carry permits are required for carriers of concealed weapons on Idaho's public college and university campuses. In March, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter signed into law the so-called guns-on-campus bill, which allows enhanced conceal-carry permit holders and retired law enforcement to bring concealed weapons onto campuses. The controversial law sailed through the state Legislature but not without drawing hours of testimony for and against the law, and prompting the universal opprobrium of college and university presidents, their legal counsel, and campus police and security services.
Boise State University student leaders traveled to the Statehouse Monday morning to discuss SB 1254, the so-called guns-on-campus bill, with Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter. Instead, they were greeted by Otter's education adviser and legal counsel.
In an email correspondence obtained by Boise Weekly, Boise State Student Body President Bryan Vlok requested an audience with the governor before signing the bill. The response from the Governor's Office, which came from Otter's scheduler, Bobbi-Jo Meulman, suggested they contact Otter's legal counselor Tom Perry and Deputy Chief of Staff Roger Brown.
Over the course of the exchange, Vlok repeatedly requested that he and Student Body Vice President Cassie Sullivan be allowed to speak directly with the governor, but on arriving at the Statehouse, they were greeted by Perry and Brown.
During their more than hourlong meeting, Vlok and Sullivan said they were explicitly told that the governor had indicated he would sign SB 1254 into law should it arrive at his desk unamended. If and when the governor actually signs the bill into law, however, remains to be seen. If he fails to sign or veto it by Wednesday, March 12, it will become law automatically.
Stakeholders at Idaho's public colleges and universities have been largely opposed to the bill, with every university president and police chief holding a contract to maintain campus security testifying against it. SB 1254's advocates say that an individual's right to protect him or herself shouldn't end on public university property, and that the bill's provision that only retired law enforcement and holders of enhanced carry concealed weapons permits may carry guns on campus provides against detractors' concerns that allowing guns on campuses would negatively impact campus security.
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.