- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 8, 2014

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - In a story July 2 about security costs surrounding a gun-rights event, The Associated Press reported erroneously a statement by a Boise State University spokesman. The BSU spokesman said it was a community member who encouraged people to openly carry guns on campus, not gun rights activist Dick Heller.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Boise State may face lawsuit over gun-rights event

Boise State asked to change policies or face possible lawsuit over fines for gun-rights event


Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - A private legal organization wants Boise State University to change its policies or face a possible lawsuit after the school charged $465 in security fines for a gun-rights event earlier this year.

The university violated the First Amendment rights of the Young Americans for Liberty group that sponsored a campus speech by gun-rights advocate Dick Heller in May, the Center for Defense of Liberty alleged Monday.

BSU spokesman Greg Hahn said it’s not unusual for the school to charge for enhanced security to defray costs to students and taxpayers. Boise police decided to staff the event with extra officers to ensure safety after the school discovered a community member was encouraging those attending Heller’s talk to openly carry weapons on campus, Hahn said.

The Center for Defense of Liberty, which says it aims to protect people’s constitutional rights through the courts, wants the university to return the money and revise its policies, director Geoffrey Talmon said. He said a potential lawsuit is among the options the group was weighing.

In a letter sent to the university Monday, the organization also points out that the school required prior approval of event fliers and removed the event information from BSU’s website. Talmon asked university officials respond before July 14.

“Not only did BSU unconstitutionally place a price tag on Mr. Heller’s speech by assessing various ‘security’ charges based on the content of Mr. Heller’s expression and the expected reaction from the attendees, but it also appears that BSU depressed attendance at the Heller event by removing information about the event from its website,” Talmon wrote.

Hahn said university President Robert Kustra is out of town and has not yet received the letter.

BSU faces a separate free speech lawsuit from an anti-abortion organization that claims the university violated the First Amendment by restricting campus protests to a handful of “speech zones.”

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