Idaho One Step Closer to Constitutional Carry

A bill granting Idaho state residents constitutional carry rights passed the Idaho Senate this week with a vote of 27-8. The bill, SB 1389, will head to the Statehouse for approval.

Currently, according to this story from the Herald-Dispatch, Idaho residents are allowed to carry a gun openly without a permit, but a license is required for concealed carry. The bill would abolish the permit requirement for those 21 and older. Gun owners ages 18-20 wishing to carry concealed would still need a permit and training.

"You could really call this a 'put on your coat' bill," said Greg Pruett with the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance. "It allows gun owners to put on a coat without fear of breaking the law." The idea is that this law, in addition to allowing constitutional carry, would augment the open carry law by not punishing people if their coat or another article of clothing covers their open carry firearm.

The permitting process in Idaho will remain in place for anyone wishing to use it, but it will be entirely optional. This provision exists so Idaho residents wishing to carry in other states that grant reciprocity can still do so.

The Senate State Affairs Committee approved the bill on a 6-3 vote.

Opponents say the law would put law enforcement officers at risk, but this story from Boise Weekly says more than two thirds of the Idaho Sheriffs' Association voted in support of the bill.

Michael Kane, a former police officers and a lobbyist for the ISA, said that while it’s useful for officers to know whether someone holds a permit for a firearm, officers must assume a subject is armed regardless of whether he or she has a permit, for safety reasons, the story says.

"(Whether a subject is a permit-holder) is not the be-all and end-all," Kane said in the story. "People are going to commit crimes irrespective of a background check; irrespective of permits. It's just going to happen."

If the bill passes the House and is signed into law, Idaho will join Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Maine, Montana, Vermont, Wyoming, and, most recently, West Virginia as states with constitutional carry laws. Each of those states has also retained its permitting system for the benefits of interstate reciprocity.

Greenleaf, Idaho was in the news recently for having erected welcome signs, which were paid for by town residents, that read "This is not a gun-free zone." The town of Garden Valley, Idaho also made headlines for selecting a handful of stff to receive firearms training and keeping four rifles and 2,000 rounds of ammo on hand, just in case.