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Former NRA President, University of Idaho Law Professor Spar on Second Amendment at Concordia

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- Former National Rifle Association President Sandra Froman speaking at Concordia University School of Law. -  - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • Former National Rifle Association President Sandra Froman speaking at Concordia University School of Law.


A pair of legal scholars went head to head on one of the Gem State's touchiest topics Jan. 27, when former National Rifle Association President Sandra Froman and University of Idaho School of Law Professor Shaakirrah Sanders debated the history and legal nuances of the Second Amendment at Concordia University School of Law.

"You can't overthrow the government if the government says you can't have a gun," Froman said.

Froman told the crowd of mostly students that the Second Amendment is an enumerated right, safe from the winds of politics and cultural attitudes toward guns. The right to bear arms was born out of a distaste for tyranny, she said, and has since evolved to include self defense. Sanders, however, said that right has historically not been applied to everyone. 

"Not everyone had the right to keep and bear arms, like slaves, immigrants and natives," Sanders said. 

- University of Idaho College of Law Professor Shaakirrah Sanders. -  - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • University of Idaho College of Law Professor Shaakirrah Sanders.
Though heavy on legal terms, the debate focused on a key issue that has spurred controversiy both in Idaho and around the country:

"There is this tension between the right to bear arms and public safety," Sanders said.

In the Gem State, the so-called Guns on Campus law is entering its second year. The law allows those with enhanced conceal/carry weapons permits to bring their firearms on public college and university campuses. The passage of the law was a source of tension, with school administrators, students and the public turning out in force at the Idaho Statehouse to protest, saying allowing guns on Idaho's campuses would imperil students and hike up the cost of keeping them safe.

The law's proponents, including the NRA, argued that public colleges and universities are public spaces, and armed students, faculty and staff would keep schools safer than police or security services.

"The only thing that will stop someone like [an active shooter] is an armed victim," Froman said.

During the current legislative session, two bills seek to decriminalize the permit-less carry of firearms, otherwise known as "constitutional carry." The bills would make it legal for people to carry concealed guns without a permit across the Gem State. Froman said there's an "intimidation factor" when someone carries a weapon in public, but that doesn't mean the Second Amendment is going away.

"I'm all for talking about these issues," she said.