"No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions." --Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1804.

Where ideology smacks into personal experience

Probably for most of the people who do argue that Idaho college campuses should be open to packing heat, as House Bill 222 would provide, the issue is philosophical or ideological: Guns should be allowed. For some, there may be a matter of speculation: People packing might stop some incidents. And for some, there’s a matter of knowing people who pack and are sane, rational, thoughtful people.

At the Idaho Senate State Affair Committee meeting this morning, that latter thought at least (maybe the others as well) seemed to animate University of Idaho student Jonathan Sawmiller, an Iraq war veteran who described himself as a “mature, responsible, law-abiding citizen”, as he may well be. And he blasted the impression of gun owners on campus as “nothing more than drunken frat boys who would stumble about campus firing indiscriminately.”

Okay, to that point. But then state Senator Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, had his say. Davis has a specific interest in the issue: At a Boise State University-related party eight years ago, his son was shot to death.

Davis: “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. 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.”

The bill, one of the most controversial this session but which passed easily in the Idaho House, was held in committee – effectively killed for the year.

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  1. fortboise said:

    Interesting that young Republican gadfly Jonathan Sawmiller, coming off his career making various sorts of trouble at BSU would blunder into the Idaho Legislature and more or less single-handedly result in the demise of a bill he said he supported.

    March 27, 2011

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