Iowa legislators have made another attempt to require campus police at Iowa’s three public universities to carry firearms, in response to last week’s shootings at Virginia Tech. A vote to arm campus police failed in the Iowa Senate last week.
In the House on Monday night, Representative Clel Baudler, a Republican from Greenfield and a retired state trooper, tried again to force the issue with an amendment to a budget bill.
Baudler says: "The special security officers at the UNI, ISU and U-of-I will be armed and carry a firearm while on duty. Sworn officers are the same as city police officers, deputy sheriffs, troopers."
Under the Baudler amendment, campus police would complete training in firearms at the Iowa law enforcement academy, and the Department of Public Safety would issue permits for them to carry the weapons.
Representative Dennis Cohoon, a Democrat from Burlington, resisted arming campus police. Cohoon says, "Obviously, this is an issue that has been of great importance with what happened in the last week. It’s my understanding that there is a committee studying this." The committee is to issue recommendations this fall. Baudler’s amendment was ruled not relevant to the budget bill lawmakers were debating. Board of Regents President Michael Gartner has advised caution on the issue of arming campus police.