By Betsy Z. Russell
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter on Wednesday signed into law legislation to allow guns on Idaho public college and university campuses -- over the objections of the colleges.
Under the new law, which takes effect July 1, retired law enforcement officers or anyone with Idaho's new enhanced concealed weapons permit could bring firearms onto Idaho campuses, where they're now banned.
Otter said he backed the bill on Second Amendment grounds. "As elected officials, we have a sworn responsibility to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States -- not only when doing so is easy, convenient or without cost, but especially when it is not," he said in a statement. "This legislation challenges us to fulfill that charge, and we will."
In recent days, Otter was pushed to veto the National Rifle Association-backed bill by the mothers of shooting victims in college mass shootings across the nation, and by Idaho student leaders. He said he concluded that Second Amendment rights have some exceptions, but wrote, "This is not the circumstance to carve out another."
All eight of Idaho's public college and university president strenuously opposed the bill, as did the state Board of Education. Hundreds of students and faculty members rallied against it at the Capitol the week before last.
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