Sunday, February 08, 2015

Idaho Introduces Constitutional Carry

Idaho has introduced a constitutional carry bill to restore the right to carry a weapon without a permit, along with other reforms.  The constitutional carry portion of the bill is an incremental reform, as legal, non-felon residents of Idaho already have the right to carry weapons openly and concealed without a permit in 99 percent of the state.  The changes include the removal of restrictions on the legal carry of loaded, concealed handguns in vehicles and the ability to carry of concealed weapons without a permit in public places.  The law removes the section that lists all of those people who are now excepted from the current concealed carry restrictions.  From H0089(PDF):
(121) The requirement to secure a license to carry a concealed weapon under this section shall not apply to the following persons

(a) Officials of a county, city, state of Idaho, the United States,
peace officers, guards of any jail, court appointed attendants or any
officer of any express company on duty;
(b) Employees of the adjutant general and military division of the
state where military membership is a condition of employment when on duty;
(c) Criminal investigators of the attorney general's office, crimi-
nal investigators of a prosecuting attorney's office, prosecutors and
their deputies;
(d) Any person outside the limits of or confines of any city while en-
gaged in lawful hunting, fishing, trapping or other lawful outdoor ac-
(e) Any publicly elected Idaho official;
(f) Retired peace officers or detention deputies with at least ten (10)
years of service with the state or a political subdivision as a peace of-
ficer or detention deputy and who have been certified by the peace officer standards and training council;
(g) Any person who has a valid permit from a state or local law enforcement agency or court authorizing him to carry a concealed weapon. A permit issued in another state will only be considered valid if the permit is in the licensee's physical possession.
 The bill also expands the term of the existing license from four years to five years.   Idaho concealed weapon law applies to all legal weapons, not only firearms.  The stated purpose of the bill is:
The purpose of this bill is to align Idaho laws with the true meaning of the Second Amendment such that law abiding citizens may carry concealed weapons without a permit. Idaho law already permits openly carrying weapons throughout the state. Idaho law already allows lawmakers to carry firearms without a permit. This bill extends permitless carry (commonly referred to as Constitutional Carry) to all law abiding citizens.
This bill does not impact those barred from possessing firearms under State law. Those prohibited from possessing firearms, such as convicted felons, will still be prohibited. This bill does not impact criminal activity. It will still be prohibited to commit crimes with weapons.
This bill retains the existing concealed weapons permitting system to enable reciprocity with other states, retain "enhanced permit" rights such as "Campus Carry", and expedite background checks for firearms purchases.
Constitutional, or "permitless" carry exists in five states at the present time.  Vermont has had constitutional carry since  1791.   Their state supreme court ruled infringements on the carry of arms by people who had no criminal intent, to be unconstitutional.  Alaska restored constitutional carry in 2003.  An Alaska Democrat legislator said that he was tired of fighting against incremental gun reform, and said it was best to get it all done at once.  Arizona restored constitutional carry in 2010, Wyoming in 2011, and Arkansas in 2013.  At least five other states besides Idaho are considering a similar bill this year. 

H0089 passed the State Affairs committee along a party line vote.  11 Republicans in favor, 4 Democrats opposed.    The Idaho house has 56 Republicans and 14 Democrats.  The Idaho Senate has 28 Republicans and 7 Democrats.   Governor Otter has started his third term this year.  Last year he signed a federal gun law nullification bill and campus carry reform.  

Governor Otter is likely to remember how the media mischaracterized the campus carry bill last year, and the way AP rewrote an Idaho State Journal article to smear the Governor with the claim that the Campus Carry reform would cost the University its nuclear program.  Neither was true; the Governor did not make the claim, and the nuclear program was not at risk.

The lost media credibility, and the lack of an effect on the elections make it more likely for the bill to pass.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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