Eye On Boise

'What made America strong'

The House votes Monday morning to pass legislation protecting from liability employers who have policies allowing workers to keep guns in their cars in company parking lots, after a long debate. The bill now moves to the Senate. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)
The House votes Monday morning to pass legislation protecting from liability employers who have policies allowing workers to keep guns in their cars in company parking lots, after a long debate. The bill now moves to the Senate. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

Freshman Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Idaho Falls, came in for a heavy grilling in the House this morning on his bill to protect companies from liability if they have policies letting employees store firearms in their vehicles in the company parking lot. Several attorney members of the House questioned whether the bill was actually opening up employers without such policies to lawsuits. Others said they strongly support 2nd Amendment rights but opposed the bill as flawed. Rep. James Ruchti, D-Pocatello, asked Thompson if there's ever been a lawsuit over employee gun storage in a company parking lot. "I don't know of one incident where that  has occurred," Thompson responded. But he said he knows that some companies, including Cabela's and Hewlett-Packard, don't let employees store guns in their cars in the company parking lot. "That goes directly to the Second Amendment," Thompson said. "Therefore we're coming up with a way that people will still have that right and give the companies immunity."

During the extended debate, which lasted 45 minutes, House Majority Caucus Chairman Ken Roberts, R-Donnelly, spoke out for the bill. "Ladies and gentlemen, that's what made America strong ... because the citizens of the state and this country are armed," he told the House. Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, questioned Thompson over whether he thought the 2nd Amendment trumped a private property owner's right to control what happens on his or her property. Thompson didn't directly answer. Rep. Dell Raybould, R-Rexburg, a supporter of the bill, said, "This is the longest debate we've had on one sentence since I've been in the Legislature. This bill is a one-sentence bill." The bill passed 50-19, and now moves to the Senate.




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