Idaho Chemistry Professor Accidentally Shoots Himself in the Foot


Byron Bennett, an assistant professor of chemistry at the Idaho State University, accidentally shot himself in the foot Tuesday.

The incident occurred during a Chemistry lab lecture when a small caliber pistol in Bennett's pocket suddenly discharged in the presence of 20 students.

Only Bennett sustained injuries. The instructor who has been teaching at ISU since 2007 was treated to non-life threatening injuries in the foot and released from the Portneuf Medical Center.

According to police reports, Bennett possesses a current Idaho Enhanced Concealed Weapons Permit, an Idaho Basic Concealed Weapons Permit and a Utah Concealed Weapons Permit.

"It's unfortunate," ISU President Arthur Vailas told the Idaho State Journal. "I'm sure the incident was scary and embarrassing," Spokesman reports.

Pocatello Police Lieutenant Paul Manning said that authorities are investigating why the small-caliber weapon discharged. And whether the device was fitted with a safety device and if it was engaged at the time of the incident, Tribune reports.

Last year, Idaho's Republican-led Legislature passed a law that permits persons with enhanced concealed carry permits to carry weapons firearms onto public college and university campuses but not into residence halls or stadiums. President Vailas and his peers from state's other leading universities vehemently opposed the campus carry law.

The law that went into effect July 1, allows concealed weapons to be carried anywhere on the university campus except all dormitories, campus apartment buildings, Albion Hall, the College of Education, Holt Arena, Reed Gymnasium, Davis Field, the Stephens Performing Arts Center, the Lillibridge Engineering Building, the RISE Center on Alvin Ricken Drive, the CAES Building in Idaho Falls and the Meridian campus.

Violation of the law can lead to criminal charges and/or temporary or permanent suspension from the university.

ISU physicist Majid Khalaf said that Tuesday's incident proves that guns should actually be banned on campus. Agreeing with the physicist, student Randi Leissring said, "It's probably going to happen again," Idaho State Journal reports.

Max MacClure, a senior at ISU, said that he supports the campus carry law despite the accidental shooting by a semiautomatic handgun. "I think accidents happen. One accident doesn't mean it's a bad law," MacClure said.

ISU freshman Taylor Hansen said that she would practise caution to avert any untoward incident.

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