The Idaho chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today released the following statement after the Idaho House State Affairs Committee passed HB122, legislation that would force K-12 schools to allow employees to carry concealed, loaded handguns in the classroom and on school grounds. Similar legislation was struck down in the past two legislative sessions in 2019 and 2020.
“Idaho lawmakers should read the room,” said Nick Arambarri, a volunteer with the Idaho chapter of Moms Demand Action. “After a global pandemic, an elevated risk of gun suicide, and increased gun violence around the country, the last thing Idaho needs is more guns in our schools. We will be fighting tooth and nail to make sure this bill once again does not become a law.”
“If only lawmakers were as persistent about gun safety laws that are proven to keep children and teens safe as they are about bills to put guns in our schools –Idaho would be the safest state in the country,” said Lauren Axness, a volunteer with Students Demand Action in Idaho. “Students should have a comfortable and safe environment in our classrooms and schools and that doesn’t include having guns there.”
Research shows that allowing more firearms on school grounds could be a serious risk to safety. Guns are already the third leading cause of death among children and teens in Idaho and over 80% of the deaths are gun suicides. Idaho also has the fourth highest rate of gun suicide deaths in the country. Lawmakers should prioritize legislation that is proven to save lives and prevent gun violence on school grounds and gun suicides, such as secure storage or extreme risk legislation.
This is the third year that legislation to force more guns on school grounds has been attempted. In 2019 and 2020, similar proposed legislation failed after significant opposition from the public, including parents, teachers, and law enforcement. Last session, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers showed up alongside education professionals and public safety experts to testify in opposition to the bill.
Gun violence costs Idaho $1.9 billion each year, of which $44.2 million is paid by taxpayers. Lawmakers pushing this bill could add to this cost as adding more guns in schools can lead to more unintentional shootings and gun violence.
More on the dangers of putting guns in schools is available here. Statistics about gun violence in Idaho are available here, and information on how Idaho gun laws compare to other states overall is available here.