As the nation is locked in debate over expanding background checks and other measures aimed at stemming gun violence, Idaho lawmakers this year debated nine gun bills and passed four – every one of them aimed at increasing protections for Idahoans’ gun rights. The bills that passed were mostly minor tweaks to Idaho’s existing gun laws; the most significant creates a new enhanced concealed weapons permit, allowing Idahoans to choose to go through more training and get a special concealed gun permit that will be recognized in more states than Idaho’s existing permit.
“There’s little doubt that Idahoans are very supportive of the 2ndAmendment,” said House Speaker Scott Bedke. “I think we made significant progress on that front.”
Some lawmakers expressed disappointment that the state didn’t go further; the House passed a bill, HB 219, to make it a misdemeanor for Idaho police officers to enforce any new federal gun laws, but the bill died without a hearing in the Senate amid constitutional questions. Idaho’s existing gun laws already are among the least restrictive in the nation. The NRA calls Idaho a “gun-friendly” state, and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence rates it as tied for next to last among states in its gun-control laws, scoring only 2 out of 100 possible points.
“Since I’ve been in the Legislature, every year we work on gun laws, tightening up our gun laws and making sure we’re protecting people’s rights to own,” said Sen. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, a retired Navy officer who’s sponsored lots of gun-rights legislation and is in his seventh year in the Legislature. “It’s getting hard for us - there’s no easy fixes any more.” That hasn’t stopped Idaho lawmakers from trying. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.