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Bill would penalize Idaho police supervisors who order officers to enforce federal gun laws

A new version of former Rep. Mark Patterson’s bill to criminalize Idaho police officers if they enforce federal gun laws was introduced in the Senate State Affairs Committee this morning; last year’s bill passed the House, but died in the Senate. This year’s measure is an emergency bill, sponsored by Sens. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, and Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens; it aims civil penalties at the supervisors of officers or public officials who order a police officer to “enforce any executive order, agency order, law, rule or regulation of the United States government” regarding seizure or restriction of guns or ammunition in violation of the Idaho Constitution, with a $1,000 fine for a first offense. A second offense would bring a misdemeanor penalty, which Hagedorn said would affect the penalized officer’s POST certification.

“Our intention is not to affect law enforcement officers who assist federal agents in drug or gang activities,” Hagedorn told the committee. “The intention is to provide basically coverage for law enforcement officers should they be directed unlawfully, according to Idaho Constitution or the U.S. Constitution, to confiscate, collect or restrict firearms or ammunition use in the state of Idaho.” Sen. Elliot Werk, D-Boise, asked, “So the issue here is … that the federal government will somehow pass a law or executive order that requires the confiscation of guns, period?” Hagedorn responded, “In a nutshell, yes.” Werk asked, “Have you any indication at the federal level that such an order or law is imminent in the next decade?” Hagadorn said, “No, I do not.”

The introduction of the bill this morning clears the way for a possible full hearing.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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