The Concealed Carry on Campus Movement Shoots Itself in the Foot

A pistol-packing professor just answered the question of what could go wrong when states permit firearms inside institutes of higher education.

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Just into the second week of fall classes, a Idaho State University professor has literally shot himself in the foot and provided one answer to the question of “What could go wrong?” on the growing number of college campuses that allow the concealed carry of firearms.

The unnamed professor was teaching a class of roughly 20 students at the Physical Science building yesterday when his handgun—pocketed, but not holstered—accidentally discharged, Lieutenant Paul Manning of the Pocatello Police Department told The Daily Beast.

Officers responded to a report of shots fired about 4 p.m. The professor was treated at the hospital for the non-life-threatening injuries. Though it is a misdemeanor to discharge a firearm within city limits, police say there are no criminal charges pending at this time. The investigation is ongoing.

In July, Idaho became the seventh state to allow students and faculty with enhanced concealed carry licenses—held by some 3,000 residents who have gone through extra training—and certain retired law enforcement officers to carry concealed weapons on public college campuses. Idaho followed Colorado, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah, and Wisconsin in enacting similar measures. The five states that proposed legislation prohibiting campus carry in 2013 were unsuccessful, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Idaho’s decision was met with both opposition and praise at the time. Some students had banded together in groups like the NRA-backed Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) to fight for their Second Amendment rights at school. Many of these groups, formed in the wake of mass school shootings like the massacre at Virginia Tech, cited a growing need to protect oneself on college campuses.

Still others see the presence of guns on campus as a distraction at best, and at worst, a danger. One student, Angel Hernandez, told News21 when the Idaho law was enacted, “I went to Boise State to get an education; I didn’t go to Boise to go to a gun show.”

Idaho State University’s president, Arthur Vailas, who himself opposed the campus carry legislation in the state legislature this year, called yesterday’s incident “unfortunate,” telling the Idaho State Journal, “When they passed this law it was bound to happen.”