Guns on campus bill dies in Idaho Senate committee

By Brian Murphy

The Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee, after more than two hours of testimony and debate, voted not to move House Bill 222 forward on Friday.

The measure, which would have restricted colleges and universities from prohibiting firearms on campus, will not get another hearing this session, said committee chairman Curt McKenzie, R-Nampa.

HB 222 passed the House earlier this month.

Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, tried to have the bill moved to the Senate's amending order for amendments, but the vote failed.

Sen. Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, said there were numerous problems with allowing amendments.

"I can’t remember any times in my history when a highly emotional, controversial issue comes out better when it goes to the 14th order of business," Hill said.

Hill said the bill was another case where lawmakers "demonstrate that our lips preach local control, but our hearts are far from it."

Sen. Davis says guns on campus 'not an intellectual exercise for me and my family'

Idaho Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, told the Senate State Affairs Committee and presenters debating the merits of House Bill 222 — which would restrict Idaho colleges and universities from prohibiting firearms on campus except in undergraduate dorms — that because of his experience "this is not an intellectual exercise for me and my family."

Eight years ago this month, Davis' 23-year-old son Cameron Wade Davis was shot and killed at an off-campus Boise State party by a fellow Boise State student.

"To you and the other presenters here today, my 23-year-old son was shot, eight years ago last week, by a concealed weapons permit holder. Both BSU students. Off-campus at a college environment," Davis told Jonathan Sawmiller, a student at the University of Idaho, a graduate of Boise State and an Iraq War veteran.

"I know for you that you served our country nobly. I thank you for it. I trust you. But there are others that I have concerns about. This is not an intellectual exercise for me and my family. To you and your successors who speak today, please be sensitive in couching your remarks."

Sawmiller had begun his testimony by complaining that opponents of the legislation seem to believe that concealed-weapons permit holders were “nothing more than drunken frat boys who would stumble about campus firing indiscriminately."

Sawmiller said he was a "mature, responsible, law-abiding citizen" and that weapons carriers are the same responsible citizens on and off campus.

After Davis' comments, Sawmiller said, "I am very sorry for your tragic loss."

Debate continues on the bill, which passed the House earlier this month. The bill will likely need amendments to make it through the Senate.

Here is our story from the sentencing of Davis' shooter in 2003

Olsen killed Cameron Davis at party in March

By Patrick Orr
Idaho Statesman Staff

Vincent Craig Olsen apologized Wednesday for shooting and killing a fellow Boise State University student at a party in March, but continued to maintain he did it in self-defense.

That explanation didn't move 4th District Judge James Judd. He sentenced Olsen to serve 25 years in prison, with possibility for parole after 10 years, for a charge of voluntary manslaughter.

"I think the crime here involves more than the shooting and death of Cameron Davis, " Judd said. "It's the whole issue of when and why you carry a concealed weapon."

Olsen stared straight ahead during Judd's comments. He marched calmly out of the courtroom in handcuffs while distraught members of the Olsen and Davis families looked on.

Olsen and Davis argued at a party early March 15 at a home in the 900 block of Belmont Street. Witnesses told police that the men exchanged words before Davis threw beer on Olsen, who then pulled out a .45-caliber handgun and fired two shots. One struck Davis in the chest, according to police reports.

Some witnesses testified Davis punched Olsen. Others disputed that, saying Olsen fired without getting hit.

Judd said Olsen shouldn't have carried a concealed weapon into a party, and a fight between the two men did not warrant deadly force.

Olsen gave a long, rambling statement before the sentencing, including a tearful apology to the Davis family for shooting Cameron Davis, a fellow Boise State engineering student.

"No amount of punishment or even my own life will justify your loss, " Olsen said, adding if he could go back in time he wouldn't have shot Cameron. "I pray for your family often. The greatest people face the greatest challenges."

Olsen also said he made many mistakes that led him to Wednesday's hearing, including hanging around the wrong people and taking a concealed weapon into the party.

"I wish I had not attempted to display a weapon in self-defense, " he said. "It was a poor decision to carry the gun. ... When I drew my firearm to scare him, I shouldn't have had my finger on the trigger."

Deputy Ada County Prosecutor Roger Bourne said that explanation was bogus -- that Olsen had a history of getting in fights and continued to fight with Davis because he knew he had a loaded gun.

Olsen's version of the fight also bothered Bart Davis, Cameron's father, who told Judd that Olsen bullied his son and reacted with deadly force to what was likely a verbal argument.

"My fear is that it was (Cameron's) sharp humor which cost him his life, " said the elder Davis, the Idaho Senate majority leader from Idaho Falls. "He joked himself into a grave."

Bart Davis said he felt empathy for Olsen and his family, and just wanted a fair sentence.

"We don't stand before you filled with hate, but we do feel justice needs to be served, " he said.

The sentence ended an emotional three-day sentencing hearing. The mothers of Olsen and Cameron Davis hugged and talked prior to sentencing. After the hearing, members of both families mingled to share condolences.

Olsen originally was charged with second-degree murder for killing Davis. He later entered an Alford plea to voluntary manslaughter . That means he didn't agree with the charges, but he felt there was enough evidence for a jury to convict him.

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Guess those concealed weapons permit holders aren't

always so responsible eh? I know a couple co-workers that are complete drunkards and are so proud of their CCW permit. I avoid them when they get too drunk. I don't want to be shot.

Report them

If you know they are carrying concealed weapons when under the influence, report them. The CCW will be permanently revoked. These two idiots will likely continue to carry illegally, but at least maybe you'd quit trying to paint all CCW holders with a broad brush because of the actions of a couple of people.

This is an exception, not the rule.

I feel for the Davis and Olsen familys but I still think this is an exception. Even though I think everyone should have a cwp and be allowed to carry, campuses might not be a real good place to allow it. This should be up to the individual school itself, not the State, Fed or legislatures.

My condolences to both familys.

I agree but ...........

You wrote :"This is an exception, not the rule."
So is the chainsaw wielding mental patient
that terrorizes our schools , beheading innocent cheerleaders . (OK I know)
The threat only exists if we look across our country and bunch all the violence together instead of spread over the years . It was basically a dishonest argument by people who think more (guns)is better . Using fear as an argument doesn't work - at least not for very long .

exceptional cases

So I presume that we are not going to hear you using weird exceptional cases like Loughner as an excuse for more gun control laws, right?

Another one in January

A Harvard study confirmed that college students who are gun owners are more likely to engage in risky behavior: ments/Gunthreats2/gunspdf.pdf

"Compared with students who did not have a firearm at college, those who had a firearm were more likely to be male (85% vs 43%); to be White (91% vs 72%); to live off campus (86% vs 57%); to live with a significant other (16% vs 8%); to drive a motor vehicle after binge drinking (27% vs 9%); to have unprotected sex when under the influence of alcohol (17% vs 10%); to vandalize property (21% vs 10%); and to get into trouble with the police (10% vs 6%)."

the Florida State student

1. Off-campus, so not relevant to this bill.

2. Alcohol and guns don't mix. (Just like alcohol and cars, and chain saws, and ladders, and just about anything, don't mix.)

There is no evidence

You are right, alcohol and guns do not mix. And college students who own guns are among the worst alcohol abusers for their age group, as the Harvard study showed. As for guns on campus, this bill was almost moot anyway, as there would have still been no guns in residence halls, where the vast majority of campus crimes occur at Boise State and other school around the country.

Statistically, the odds of someone being in the right place, at the right time, with the right skills, to stop a violent crime on a college campus with a gun, are minuscule. In fact, should a student carrying a concealed weapon decide to start firing it to stop a perceived threat, they are also either likely to kill innocent bystanders or get killed.

I am a lifelong gun owner myself, in fact I've owned guns longer than most of the people debating this bill in the legislature, and feel that it's a bad idea to allow guns on college campuses. There are far more pressing issues to worry about.

you don't understand the motivation for this bill

It wasn't about garden variety criminals (although there might have been some cases this helped). It was the psychotic mass murder problem that was driving this. It was not a particularly good solution, but the ACLU won't let us fix the mental health system that they broke.

I do understand

The motivation for the bill really has nothing much to do with campus crimes, other than they have garnered tremendous headlines, which feed into the radical right-wing, Tea Party driven agenda. Allowing concealed weapons on a college campus will not deter or stop a motivated psychotic killer, in fact, some of them might consider it a challenge.

you have just destroyed your credibility

Deterrence works with rational criminals (and some are). It does not work with psychotic mass murderers, most of whom commit suicide at the end of their spree, or who expect to be killed by the police. There are only three options:

1. Fix the mental health system that we destroyed in the 1960s and 1970s.

2. Allow potential victims to fight back.

3. Continue with these tragedies, which are happening not just in America, but Europe, Japan, and China as well.

But that is all paranoid Walter Mitty wet dream crap, son.

Please help Grandma drive across the street, sonny boy.


You must be lucky to be in the state I was born in!

there are at least two cases I know of...

where this "dream" actually happened. Pearl High School (the asst. principal) and Appalachian Law School (students) both had mass murders cut short by someone using a gun.

Neither of the shootings

involved weapons being fired by the bystanders who intervened. In both shootings the suspect surrendered.

Wet dream dries up.


You must be lucky to be in the state I was born in!


Pointing a gun at someone does tend to cause a change in behavior. Are you suggesting that pointing a gun at the shooter in both cases, and the shooter surrendering, was just a coincidence?

YES! They usually get killed!


You must be lucky to be in the state I was born in!

The ACLU broke the mental health system?

I gotta see the evidence for that.
IIRC the cases were that mental patients couldn't be housed in third world prison conditions. That increased the costs, much of which were eliminated in the 80's by releasing tens of thousands of patients onto the streets with very little after-care. You've lost your credibility by playing the ACLU card.

"No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government." Neil Peart

you are grossly mistaken

There is the lawsuit against the State of Alabama in 1966, which is the one that you are doubtless thinking of. That was indeed an absurd situation, and the director of the state hospital invited the suit to force Alabama to correct the problem. But that was only one of many actions taken in that time.

The ACLU was not the only player in this disaster. Some of it was well-intentioned sorts who believed that community based care was going to be more humane and effective than state institutions--some of which were really bad. But it did not work out that way. At least they were not freezing to death in state hospitals, or becoming local, sometimes national headlines, such as Loughner.

In some cases, what started out as efforts to force states to spend more money on mental health treatment (such as the suit against Alabama) morphed into suits by the ACLU that gold plated the system so badly that states had little choice but to close the hospitals. Of course, this did not save money; we now have large fractions of the mentally ill in jails and prisons instead, receiving inadequate care at great cost.

The New York Civil Liberties Union took much of the lead on the civil liberties side of the mistake, making the argument that persons who were mentally ill, living on the street in their own excrement, enjoyed a personal dignity that took precedence over the state's interest in helping this person to become well.

All of us crazy people shout, Kiss My Grits!


You must be lucky to be in the state I was born in!

I'm sure your ax is sharp now.

I think you over-emphasize the ACLU's part in this (or blame as you call it), and underplay the complexity of the situation that did have many players, many parts (patient rights, liability of state/private hospitals, professional conduct and standards (lobotomy as an option, shock treatments as practice)) and changes in societal knowledge and standards. When someone likes to scapegoat the ACLU, it is usually because they have an ax to grind with an organization that demands adherence to the constitution, and don't usually like the outcomes the court has decided in such cases. I also usually find that such people are usually the first to shout '2nd Amendment' when it comes to cases involving firearms. So do you believe in the Constitution and our system of government? If so, why scapegoat the ACLU?

"No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government." Neil Peart

I am not overemphasizing ACLU's part

They were not the only player, but their suits play a major role in replacing a system of mental illness commitment that was sometimes rather informal, because it was primarily for the benefit of the patient, with a system that was as rigidly formal as the criminal justice system. ECT is still used (although as a last resort) for severe depression, because it works. It is not without risks.

As for "changes in societal knowledge and standards," yes, but not necessarily in the right direction. Psychoanalytic model largely took over the psychiatric profession after World War II--and one consequence was that the organic and structural model of mental illness became less and less important. Yet, double blind studies found that psychoanalysis was completely indistinguishable from placebo treatment methods for treating schizophrenia. At the same time, we now have clear evidence that there is a genetic basis for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and a number of other serious mental illnesses.

The radicalization of Western society also played a part in these poorly thought out changes. R.D. Laing and Thomas Szasz's claims that schizophrenia did not exist, except as a method of controlling people, became fashionable for a while. Political radicalization also plays a part; the Baader-Meinhof Gang in West Germany, for example, started out as the Socialist Patients Collective--a group of deinstitutionalized mental patients who had been persuaded by their psychiatrist/guru that capitalism was the source of their mental problems.

There are certainly things the ACLU does well. But this was not one of them.

You sure like to find the isolated incidents in a whole

profession to assuage your pseudo-intellectualism that your analysis is right. I.e., the whole profession was cracked due to a few whacked out theorists, the ACLU was to blame for suing over inmate conditions, thus the mental health profession is completely broken. A little more complex than that, just admit it.

However, considering your history an the axes you do carry, I doubt that is possible.

"No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government." Neil Peart

sorry to have cast doubt on your idol

The whacked out theorists were pretty influential at the time; quite a number of books by psychiatrists admit that Laing especially was very influential at the time. See Alan Hobson and Jonathan Leonard's Out Of Its Mind: Psychiatry in Crisis (2002) for a discussion of how much Laing's ideas for a while seemed persuasive.

I did not claim "the whole profession was cracked." That's your need to turn what I said into a binary choice. Similarly, I pointed out that ACLU was not the only party interested or involved; you turned this into a binary choice, that it was either all the ACLU's fault or they were completely blameless.

I never claimed that the mental health profession "is completely broken." Quite the contrary. The problem is largely a matter of decisions made by the courts over a period of about thirty years that seemed rather logical at the time, but experience shows were in error.

Read your own comments upstream...

One quote:
"1. Fix the mental health system that we destroyed in the 1960s and 1970s."
Two quote:
"the ACLU won't let us fix the mental health system that they broke"

I'm well aware of your credentials, but I still used the word pseudo-intellectual because you appear to have an opinion that you attempt to legitimize through 'research'. The two quotes above are very telling in that they show what you believe, not what the facts are.

Those psychologists are not my idols by any stretch, and heck, even I disagree with about 1/3 of the cases the ACLU takes. But your arguments smack of extreme opinions that you try to pass off as factual research, and that is disingenuous at best.

"No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government." Neil Peart

He's a hack at a junior college, let him eat donuts.


You must be lucky to be in the state I was born in!

Or about the NRA moving one more piece of legislation at the

state level. You're right, this is not a particularly good solution.


If this bill is approved, the Albertson Foundation's campaign regarding encouraging students to go on to college will take on new meaning for me. Everytime I hear the advertisement say "GO ON Idaho" I will also think "yeah go on to college and run the risk of getting shot by a concealed weapons holder" (especially after reading what happened to Sen. Davis' son). Such a tragedy that could have been prevented. God bless your son and your family, sir.

So, now you have the fear

of being shot by a NON-concealed weapon carrier? With no one there to help stop the shooter?

That is even MORE scarier!


More scarier? Check your grammar, please.

His grammar and grandpa may be deceased, have a care.


You must be lucky to be in the state I was born in!

what if the concealed weapons carrier ... just snaps

and joins the shooting mayhem of the non-concealed weapons shooter? Oh the humanity!

almost never happens

Violent criminals have long histories behind them by the time they around to a murder. DUI convictions; lesser felonies; usually violent misdemeanor convictions, too. It is a surprisingly good predictor--as the Olsen case demonstrated.

Professors Don't Want it, Students Don't Want It

Why is it that gun advocates are so adamant about permitting guns on campus? Makes no sense. Keep your guns off my campus.

This is year is when it may fly

If there has ever been a Senate and House capable of making a bill pass that is this stupid it is this year. Hopefully Idaho has woken up to what they have created and will clean house next election. We need more moderate people representing Idaho. Not nutbags that are so worried about not having the right letter in front of there name. Of course in this State a Bluedog democrat is labeled Liberal, I know from my own experience when the crazies call me one. The moderate Republican's are afraid of the nutty rightwinger too, you can tell. Guess we can call them the silent majority : )

you own a campus?

Wow! I'm impressed! I thought that this law only applied to publicly owned colleges!

I don't have a problem with permitholders carrying guns on the campus where I teach. (I would never be so presumptuous as to call it "my campus.")

Therapy really helps cure tard posting.


You must be lucky to be in the state I was born in!

Seems to me

that the Dean has the ultimate responsibility for what goes on on campus and this would tie his hands without reducing his responsibility. For that reason alone I would vote against this bill.


If we force schools to allow guns, where does it stop? Since there is no law against smoking on campus, merely a school guideline, do we allow smokers to partake? We legally can't stop them. Its their right, and is protected by the Constitution.

See, it's a slippery slope when we force the majority to coddle the minority.

no right to smoke in the Idaho Constitution

That's one rather important difference.

So, what you're saying is...

So what you're saying is that if the Constitution doesn't specifically give you a right, you don't have the right?

Neither the state or Federal constitution gives you the right to own a bed, drink milk, shower, or own a cell phone. Stop it right now!!

Your argument is ridiculous.

what rights do we enjoy?

My point was that smoking is not explicitly guaranteed by either the state or federal constitutions. You might make a Ninth Amendment argument that smoking is protected, but it is certainly not in the same category as rights that are protected. Look up "Free Speech Movement." There was a time when liberals believed in free speech so much that they argued that it took precedence over traditional notions of what a school governed.

I completely understand.

I'm merely pointing out that the issues aren't as cut & dry as some would have us believe. In this instance, BSU has a no-smoking policy for the entire campus. To me, that is unreasonable, and infringes upon the rights of smokers. However, no one screams about it because smokers are such a small minority. CCW-holders are an even smaller minority, and yet they get to make a lot of noise. Why?

why do they make a lot of noise?

Because there is an explicit guarantee of a right to bear arms in the state constitution, and that has been held to protect open carry on public property. See In re Brickey (Ida. 1902), and some later decisions that I do not remember off the top of my head. There is no explicit guarantee of a right to smoke in public places.

There is one other reason: the right to self-defense is a fundamental human right, because in the absence of it, other rights cease to mean very much. Smoking is a somewhat less fundamental right, if it is a right at all.

Check the guns in at the edge of campus, Tex

But you can still use a piercing wit and verbal barbs on campus, but some without a gun might find that a little too threatening

Guns on campus bill dies.


I went down and testified

I am thrilled that this terrible policy was defeated. I hope my testimony played a role. But we will have to remain vigilant as the supporters will almost certainly try again in the future.


Let the Colleges and Universities make their own decisions on this issue!!!

If they decide to prohibit...

wearing of burkhas and hijabs on campus, you will be okay with that, also, right? Or if they decide to prohibit wearing of skirts above the knee? Local control and all.

Why don't you stop meandering all over the place, make a point.


You must be lucky to be in the state I was born in!