Bill to affirm gun rights awaits Gov. Otter’s signature
The Idaho Senate floor approved a bill to rewrite Idaho’s existing concealed carry law Wednesday with a 30-5 vote, and Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter will soon make a decision regarding its implementation.
The bill, H.B. 301 sponsored by Sen. Curt McKenzie, R-Boise, said the rewrite would recodify the policy to more succinctly explain the state’s gun laws, but maintain the status quo.
The rewrite includes language to allow Idaho citizens to carry concealed weapons outside city limits without a permit, and an exemption for elected state officials to carry concealed weapons without a concealed carry permit.
While the Senate voted in favor of the rewrite, McKenzie and other Republican senators expressed a desire to remove the exemption in the future.
“Law abiding citizens should have the same exemption,” Sen. Jim Rice, R-Caldwell, said. “I’m going to support this rewrite, but I think we should remove the exemption.”
An earlier version of the bill came strapped with a provision to remove the exemption, but was cut out prior to the floor hearing due to varying opinions on the matter.
Minority Leader Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, opposed the bill and said the rewrite “eviscerates concealed carry permit policy.”
Stennett quoted an op-ed by Executive Director of the Idaho Sheriffs Association Vaughn Killeen who said the bill would allow felons with withheld judgment to obtain a concealed carry permit.
“If House Bill 301 becomes a law, it will allow [felon] offenders to obtain a concealed carry license, even though they admitted guilt, or were found guilty at trial … the law enforcement are opposing this law as a bad law,” Stennett said.
Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, countered her argument and said he and other senators had looked “line-by-line” over the draft legislation, and said the bill was a “rewrite, not an implementation of new policy.”
Sen. Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow, joined all Senate Republicans in supporting the bill.
George Wood Jr. can be reached at email@example.com