By Greg Pruett
The Idaho Republican Party is holding its annual summer convention at the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls, where signs are posted that firearms are prohibited.
At least four different delegates/attendees have contacted the Idaho Dispatch to voice their frustration with the firearm policy. One delegate who did not wish to be named said the GOP should have held the event in another location that “respected 2nd Amendment rights.”
Idaho Dispatch spoke to Carl Berglund from Latah County, who told Idaho Dispatch, “It is a bit surprising to see a ‘firearms prohibited’ sign at an Idaho GOP convention.”
Another delegate and state committeewoman who spoke to Idaho Dispatch, Misty Pierce from Elmore County, said about the decision to hold the event at CSI,
“The Idaho GOP should be supporting our 2nd Amendment rights. Choosing a venue that prohibits this is unconstitutional and not supportive of the work our legislature has done.”
Idaho law does allow universities to regulate the concealed carrying of firearms according to Idaho Code 18-3309.
While someone with an “enhanced license” to carry a concealed weapon can carry it on a college campus, there are some exceptions. One of those exceptions is in “Public Entertainment Facilities.”
In the statute linked above, a Public Entertainment Facility is defined as follows:
Public entertainment facility” means an arena, stadium, amphitheater, auditorium, theater or similar facility with a seating capacity of at least one thousand (1,000) persons that is owned or operated by the board of regents of the university of Idaho, a board of trustees of a state college or university, the state board for career technical education or a board of trustees of a community college established under chapter 21, title 33, Idaho Code, that is primarily designed and used for artistic, theatrical, cultural, charitable, musical, sporting or entertainment events, but does not include publicly accessible outdoor grounds or rights-of-way appurtenant to the facility, including parking lots within the facility used for the parking of motor vehicles.
The Idaho GOP agenda for the convention mentions several rooms where meetings will be held.
According to CSI’s website, one of the rooms the Idaho GOP will use is the “Fine Arts Auditorium,” which holds 930 individuals. Additionally, some GOP meetings will take place in the “Fine Arts Theatre,” which holds 320 individuals.
According to the Idaho GOP website, the other room being used is the CSI “main gym.” Idaho Dispatch verified that the gym is in a different building but could not verify the gym’s capacity.
Idaho Dispatch reached out to Idaho Republican Party Chairman Tom Luna to ask why the GOP convention is being held at a location that prohibits firearms. Luna has not yet responded to our request for comment at this time but did ask if Idaho Dispatch could do an interview tomorrow, which we said we could do.
Updates to this story be posted at Idaho Dispatch.
This story by Greg Pruitt first appeared at Idaho Dispatch.