For the week of March 31, 1999  thru April 6, 1999  

Gun bill deserved veto

Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne wisely brought the big red veto stamp down hard on a bill that would have made it easier for kids to bring guns onto school property.

The bill was a classic case of legislative good intentions gone wrong.

Its original intent was to bar both students and adults from possessing guns on school property. Idaho law does not prevent adults from carrying guns as long as they are openly displayed. Adults may carry a concealed weapon with the proper permit.

The good intentions were derailed when someone suggested the law might get in the way of Idaho’s rural hunting heritage. Legislators supported the idea that students who go hunting before or after school should be allowed to have a gun in their car or truck.

The idea was written into the bill with these words: "The provisions of this section shall not apply to any student enrolled in school who has lawful possession of a firearm secured in his vehicle in an unobtrusive, non-threatening manner."

There went the good intentions. There went a law that would have kept guns, except those carried by police or those that are part of a training course, off school property.

The proposed law also would have contradicted a federal law that requires expulsion of any student who carries a gun onto school property. The proposed law would have allowed the courts to review expulsions.

Guns have no place in schools or their parking lots. The bill was a mess. It got what it deserved.


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