- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 3, 2015

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Five of Idaho’s universities and community colleges say they’ve spent more than $1.5 million for additional security since lawmakers approved a law allowing concealed guns on campus.

The Idaho Statesman reports (http://bit.ly/1BSyp3E) the schools sought $1.55 million this winter plus another $2.17 million for the rest of the budget year to help with expenses.

But Boise State University, Idaho State University, the University of Idaho, the College of Western Idaho and North Idaho College will likely have to absorb the costs.

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter didn’t include the money in budget planning and state lawmakers are not likely to add the money for Boise State University, Idaho State University, the University of Idaho, the College of Western Idaho and North Idaho College.

“ISU will continue to look for ways to improve our campus safety measures, including reallocating funds as possible for this campus priority,” said Idaho State University spokeswoman Adrienne King.

The law went into effect July 1. It allows retired law enforcement officers and holders of enhanced concealed-carry permits to bring firearms onto campus. But residence halls and areas that seat more than 1,000 people are off limits.

The law had a fiscal note that expected minimal “fiscal impact associated with posting signage at public entertainment facilities.” But schools say they’ve had to add workers, train them and get new equipment.

At Boise State University, the law prompted the school to look at campus security overall.

“As the city gets bigger and the campus gets bigger, and with this change, knowing that weapons are going to be allowed on parts of campus, does it make sense to turn (campus security) into a larger police force and ultimately armed security?” Hahn asked. “Certainly a piece of it had to do with the gun bill, but we’ve been hearing requests for more campus safety at all levels.”

Currently the school relies on the Boise Police Department to respond to serious situations.

Rep. Phylis King, D-Boise, voted against the concealed-carry bill last year and said the money schools are spending on security now could have been used elsewhere.

“This money could be used to pay, attract and retain professors,” she said.

Jon Hanian, Otter’s spokesman, said Otter’s budget didn’t include money sought by colleges for campus security involving guns on campus because the schools put it “last on their list.”

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Information from: Idaho Statesman, http://www.idahostatesman.com

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