Election Central

Boise State prof in New York Times: ‘When May I Shoot a Student?’

Boise State biology professor Greg Hampikian authored a pungent satire in Thursday’s New York Times exploring the real-life impacts should Senate Bill 1254 become law.

The bill is being heard this morning in the House State Affairs Committee, which is expected to approve the measure and send it to the full House for final passage. The Senate passed Nampa GOP Sen. Curt McKenzie’s bill 25-10.

State Board of Education Member Rod Lewis told the committee the bill would mean open carrying of guns at Boise State football games, sending fans away in fear. “It is an open carry bill. It is dangerous and will, if passed, do harm to our colleges and universities,” Lewis said.

Hampikian’s editorial asks, “When may I shoot a student?”

Hampikian said he “thought it would be a good idea” to begin carrying his own firearm, “since many of my students are likely to be armed.”

“I have had encounters with disgruntled students over the years, some of whom seemed quite upset, but I always assumed that when they reached into their backpacks they were going for a pencil. Since I carry a pen to lecture, I did not feel outgunned; and because there are no working sharpeners in the lecture hall, the most they could get off is a single point. But now that we’ll all be packing heat, I would like legal instruction in the rules of classroom engagement.”

He adds: “I assume that if a student shoots first, I am allowed to empty my clip; but given the velocity of firearms, and my aging reflexes, I’d like to be proactive. For example, if I am working out a long equation on the board and several students try to correct me using their laser sights, am I allowed to fire a warning shot?”


Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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