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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