House Majority Leader Mike Moyle is a big gun-rights supporter, but he’s the sponsor of HB 137, the bill this year to allow the state parks board to regulate discharge of firearms in state parks, despite the “pre-emption” law lawmakers enacted last year sharply limiting any regulation of firearms by anyone other than the state Legislature. “We don’t want people shooting when they’re camping next to each other and getting hurt,” Moyle told the House, noting that the bill allows regulation only of discharge of guns, not possession. It also includes exemptions for self-defense and “lawful hunting.” Sponsors of last year’s pre-emption bill “support this change, and I hope you can too,” Moyle told his fellow representatives. He convinced almost all of them - the bill passed 66-1, with just Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, voting no.
Harwood said after the vote, “The parks, the way they do it now they call the sheriff - this don’t change that. This is just making a bill, as far as I’m concerned. They still have to call the sheriff.” Harwood said he checked with his local sheriff, and someone shooting in a state campground could be arrested and charged with a crime like reckless endangerment. “This is just one bill that I didn’t feel they needed to have,” he said.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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