ISU worries gun bill may end nuke research funding

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- The guns on campus bill breezed through the Senate last week , passing 25 to 10 over the objections of all of Idaho's public colleges and the State Board of Education.

But as the bill heads to a House committee hearing on Thursday, there's news Idaho State University could lose its federal license from the Nuclear Regulatory Committee to conduct nuclear research if the bill becomes law.

ISU officials say that's because the NRC has a zero-tolerance policy regarding weapons at licensed nuclear research facilities.

Sen. Curt McKenzie, (R) Nampa, is the bill's sponsor and says he plans a closer look at the developments in Eastern Idaho.

"If Idaho State University is saying that there can't be firearms anywhere on their campus in order to keep this research, i would have to look into that to see how accurate that is," he told KBOI News.

Gov. Butch Otter was made aware of ISU's concerns late last week and now the governor's office is reviewing the situation.

The president of ISU says much of the school's research portfolio is in the nuclear energy field.

When the Idaho State Journal recently asked the on-line question -- do you think ISU's potential loss is worth allowing guns on campus? -- 28% responded yes, and 72% responded no.