Members of the Idaho Education Association’s Board of Directors on Thursday took the extraordinary step of sending a letter to the Idaho Senate expressing its collective concern over legislation allowing virtually anyone employed by or volunteering for a school district to carry a concealed firearm in Idaho public schools.
House Bill 415, sponsored and introduced by Rep. Ted Hill (R-Eagle) in close cooperation with the National Rifle Association, was passed by the Idaho House of Representatives in a lopsided 53-16 vote Wednesday.
The legislation side-steps a school district’s codified responsibility for and oversight of school safety to “provide an armed force to protect children.” The proposed legislation grants school employees and volunteers to legally carry concealed weapons on public school campuses, as long as they have an enhanced concealed weapons permit.
“The IEA advocates for restricting firearms to be solely in the possession of state and local law enforcement officers or district employees who have received proper training and authorization from their locally elected school board,” read the letter, which can be found in its entirety on the IEA’s website. “We have heard from parents, students, and community members who share our concerns and believe this bill could have far-reaching negative consequences for the health and well-being of Idaho students.”
In addition to IEA members, House Bill 415 is opposed by virtually every education stakeholder group of note, as well as law enforcement groups. The Idaho School Boards Association, the Idaho School Administrators Association, the Idaho Association of School Resource Officers, the Idaho Sheriffs’ Association and the Idaho Chiefs of Police Association are against it.
Since the bill’s introduction a week ago, IEA members have sent more than 1,200 emails to lawmakers urging them to reject the bill.