“When may I shoot a student?” A Boise State professor’s satirical question, posed in the pages of The New York Times in February, brought national attention to a bill – then under consideration in the Idaho Legislature -- allowing guns on the state’s college and university campuses. The bill revoked the authority of college and university governing boards to regulate or prohibit “the otherwise lawful possession, carrying or transporting of firearms or ammunition.” Idaho Governor Butch Otter signed the bill into law March 12, roughly two weeks after Greg Hampikian’s piece appeared. The law goes into effect July 1.
The bill passed over cries of opposition from many academics, including every public-college president in the state. But some Idaho faculty, although outgunned at the legislature, continue to combat the law, even now that the legislative session has ended. Last week the University of Idaho faculty union, a branch of the American Federation of Teachers, unveiled a legal memo suggesting various ways faculty could respond to the weapons bill. The memo proposes strategies that range from the structural (filing a suit arguing the law is unconstitutional) to the satirical (having professors carry guns into classrooms themselves “to highlight the absurdity” of the new law).