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Senate Bill 1418 — Firearms on school property (-2)

Senate Bill 1418 — Firearms on school property (-2)

Parrish Miller
March 11, 2024

Bill Description: Senate Bill 1418 would allow school employees who possess an enhanced carry permit, receive board permission, and follow a host of other regulations to carry specifically authorized concealed weapons on school property where they are employed.

Rating: -2

NOTE: Senate Bill 1418 is related to House Bill 415, which was introduced earlier this session and passed the House 53-16-1. While these bills are related, Senate Bill 1418 is much worse and consequently receives a markedly lower rating. House Bill 415 would allow employees with an enhanced carry permit to carry a concealed firearm on school property without getting permission from a school board. Senate Bill 1418 requires board permission.

Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Examples include restrictions on speech, public assembly, the press, privacy, private property, or firearms. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution?

Senate Bill 1418 would amend Section 18-3302D, Idaho Code, which deals with possessing weapons on school property, and create Section 33-527, Idaho Code, which would require local education agencies, "in consultation with law enforcement," to "develop and adopt policies pertaining to the authorization of employees and governing board members with enhanced concealed weapons licenses to carry a firearm or other deadly or dangerous weapon on school property."

Local education agencies would be given until Jan. 1, 2026, to create these policies and until July 1, 2026, to implement them.

Any school employee or member of a governing board who wants to carry a concealed weapon under Section 33-527, Idaho Code, would have to possess an enhanced carry permit and abide by the policies and limitations imposed by the board. These policies and limitations would include "personal qualifications for authorized employees and governing board members; appropriate firearms and ammunition; appropriate use of force; training, including initial and annual firearms re-qualification training; and nationally recognized active shooter and emergency response training or a course instructor or program recommended by a law enforcement agency."

The term "personal qualifications" is particularly concerning, as it seems to invite school boards to adopt discriminatory policies regarding whose rights will be respected. It is also concerning that school boards — which have no specialized knowledge of firearms and ammunition — would be the ones to determine which firearms and ammunition are "appropriate" for a trained individual to carry.

Additionally, local education agencies "may require additional training beyond that required" to obtain an enhanced carry permit, and the "authorized employee or governing board member shall be responsible for the cost of training." They may by policy offer reimbursement for the training but are not required to do so.

Additionally, any employee or member of a governing board seeking to carry a concealed weapon would be required to participate "in the annual meeting pertaining to the school safety plan." The information about any employee or board member who seeks to carry would be provided to "the local education agency's superintendent or administrator, governing board, and local law enforcement." Anyone carrying under these provisions would also have to keep the weapon concealed (which violates the broad constitutional right to open carry) and maintain "immediate control over the firearm or other deadly or dangerous weapon while on school property."

Requiring local education agencies to adopt these policies may compel some agencies to adopt policies they otherwise would not. Still, the legislation would allow uncooperative agencies to delay implementation for more than two years and to make the process incredibly arduous by imposing excessive training requirements and unreasonable limitations on what firearms and ammunition may be carried.

Also troubling is how this newly created section would impact school districts that already allow school employees to carry. Section 18-3302D(4)(g), Idaho Code, currently says that the general prohibitions against possessing weapons on school property "shall not apply" to "a person or an employee of the school or school district who is authorized to carry a firearm with the permission of the board of trustees of the school district or the governing board."

While a modified version of this subsection would remain under Senate Bill 1418, these more permissive districts would still be required to establish the restricted policies called for in the new section.

The underlying problem is that anti-gun school board members are using poorly written (and in some cases blatantly unconstitutional) laws to violate the inalienable natural right of all individuals to keep and bear arms, as recognized by the U.S. Constitution and the Idaho Constitution

This bill may be intended to address some elements of this problem, but it does so in a convoluted and poorly conceived manner that is likely to create as many problems as it solves. The exercise of fundamental constitutional rights should be clarified and expanded by the Legislature, not conditioned on compliance with yet-to-be-created policies from hundreds of school districts and charter schools around the state.


Does it in any way restrict public access to information related to government activity or otherwise compromise government transparency, accountability, or election integrity? Conversely, does it increase public access to information related to government activity or increase government transparency, accountability, or election integrity?

Unlike House Bill 415, which would forbid public schools from displaying "any signage whatsoever indicating that school property is a gun-free zone," Senate Bill 1418 allows these invitations to criminals to remain posted. It says, "Any school displaying any signage whatsoever indicating that school property is a gun-free zone must have an accompanying sign stating that there is an exception pursuant to the provisions of this section."

This provision has two problems. First it codifies the notion of a "gun-free zone," a term that is not currently found in Idaho code. Additionally, this codification and continued tolerance of these signs continues to perpetuate the inherently false claim that schools are "gun-free zones."


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