Boise State University recently financially bullied the sponsors of a pro-gun speaker and looked with suspicion at the events’ attendees.
In May, a student group, Young Americans for Liberty (YAL), brought Dick Heller to the campus to speak about his successful 2008 lawsuit affirming the right of individuals to keep and bear arms. Heller spoke about his U.S. Supreme Court case and the District of Columbia’s overturned law barring people from buying and owning handguns.
The school charged the group a special fee for three extra security guards and two Boise city police officers. YAL told IdahoReporter.com that the day before Heller’s speech, BSU surprised the group with an extra $465 charge for security. YAL’s Sheryl Rose said the school targeted pro-gun event attendees when it should have focused attention elsewhere.
“I find it incredibly ironic how those who are most interested in and educated about our Second Amendment and gun safety would need protection!” Rose said. “The pro-gun communities I know are responsible gun owners who understand gun history, practice good etiquette and understand our gun laws better than the average citizen or armed thug.”
Rose is asking for a refund of the security fee, which the school defends.
BSU communications staffer Kathleen Tuck said charges are applied to events based on threat assessments and, “In this case, there was concern that a community member had been encouraging folks to open carry.”
It’s worth noting that the Idaho Constitution also encourages people to open carry. For those unfamiliar, Article I, Section 11 says “the people have the right to keep and bear arms, which right shall not be abridged; but this provision shall not prevent the passage of laws to govern the carrying of weapons concealed on the person.”
As a side note, the university also indicated it would kick off its campus anyone who happened to openly carry, contending that behavior would violate campus policy.
Geoffrey Talmon, the director of the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s Defense of Liberty, says BSU is using security as an excuse to attack another constitutionally-protected right: the right to free speech. Says Talmon, “the university is essentially charging the group a premium for engaging in speech that the university deems controversial and that might engender in the attendees a reaction with which the university disagrees.”
I’m curious to know what kind of violence Heller’s speech would generate. Did school administrators expect people would arrive on campus, armed, and then spontaneously start shooting one another at the conclusion of Heller’s talk? And if there was really a threat from, say, hundreds of armed and dangerous civilians on campus, why send just five officers for security? Seems like the threat was bogus and the school’s response to it even more so.
I’m also curious what other groups are charged, and why. Or is it just that the school, like a lot of Leftists, is just opposed to guns?
Let’s see what happens when pro-gun country singer Blake Shelton performs at the school later this year.
At another BSU event, one has to wonder if the BSU folks recognized the potential for a problem. Last month BSU hosted a “Stress Relief Knitting Session” on campus. People who were already (apparently) stressed were given pointy objects and lots of yarn, said yarn having the potential to tie up people or choke them. And, of course, knitting needles in the wrong hands …