Idaho is a strong Republican state. It is known for being Second Amendment friendly. The reason it took so long to pass permitless or "Constitutional" carry is epitomized by the three Republican committee chairs shown above. All three chose to vote against permitless carry. They were the only Republicans in the House to do so.
It says a great deal that these powerful people chose this political hill to die on. Why? Why not vote for the bill, and at least camouflage your actions? How many are in the Idaho legislature who did exactly that? These are only the ones in the House. There is likely a similar cabal in the Senate.
These three representative control three of the most powerful committees in the Idaho legislature. They can pass bills and stop bills. They can prevent bills from ever seeing the light of day. It seems that they have done so. The final vote in the House was 54 to 15! Only active suppression by the legislative leadership could keep that sort of support bottled up. And it did. Until now. From Idaho Reporter.com:
Three high-profile Republican House members opposed a bill Friday that would allow permitless concealed carry throughout Idaho.
Despite the opposition from most House Democrats and Reps. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, Rep. Rich Wills, R-Glenns Ferry, and Fred Wood, R-Burley, the bill cleared the chamber on 54 to 14 vote and now moves to Gov. Butch Otter’s desk for his consideration.In the image above, courtesy of the Idaho Reporter and ktvb.com, from left to right:
Fred Wood, R-Burley votesmart.org:
Health and Welfare, Chair
- District 27
P.O. Box 1207, Burley, 83318-0828
Home (208) 312-1056
FAX (208) 677-3136
Health & Welfare - Chair
Resources & Conservation
Maxine Bell, R-Jerome From npr.org:
Rep. Maxine Bell, a retired school librarian from Jerome, was first elected to the Idaho Legislature in 1988. She’s the longtime co-chair of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, which crafts the annual state budget.
194 S. 300 E., Jerome, 83338
Home (208) 324-4296
Retired Farmer/School Librarian
Appropriations - Chair
Rich Wills, R-Glenns Ferry votesmart.org:
District 23If these three Chairs are against you in the Idaho legislature, it does not matter very much who is for you. It takes the overwhelming force of a higher power to overcome the resistance of the massive legislative clout of these Chairs.
P.O. Box 602, Glenns Ferry, 83623
Home (208) 366-7408
Bus (208) 484-0403
FAX (208) 366-2457
Business Owner, Opera Theatre/ Communications Consulting Business
Judiciary, Rules, & Administration - Chair
Transportation & Defense
And that is what happened. The overwhelming force was the force of the voters in Idaho. At one point, a thousand demonstrators showed up at the Idaho capitol, and this was not a one time event. This has been building for years. On the side of this bill are the vast majority of Idaho sheriffs in the Idaho Sheriffs Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, and the NRA. The overwhelming political force of the voters was organized by the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance. They have become a powerful voice in the Idaho legislature. I expect to hear more from them in the future.
I have seen this pattern before, in numerous other legislative bodies, and in many executive offices. The longer a person stays in power, the more arrogant and disdainful of the people they become; and they become more and more likely to wish the people disarmed.
The bill has not yet passed. It has been sent to Governor Butch Otter. I expect him to sign it. He has been pro Second Amendment in the past. If he does not veto it, it will become law five days (not counting Sunday) after it is enrolled and the Governor receives it. The legislative web site is not yet showing it as enrolled.
Update: Constitutional carry was signed by Governor Otter on March 24, 2016. These three Republicans are emblematic of why it took so long to accomplish.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
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