Should any legal gun owner in Idaho be able to carry a concealed gun without a concealed weapons permit? Two state lawmakers think so, and are working on legislation they call “constitutional carry” that they plan to introduce within the first weeks of this year’s Idaho legislative session.
Reps. Ron Nate, R-Rexburg, and Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, are co-sponsoring the bill, and said in a press release that it would “make Idaho the ninth state to fully honor the Second Amendment and virtually end permit requirements for law abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons.”
Nate said the bill wouldn’t repeal Idaho’s current concealed weapon permit laws, essentially just making them optional. “The reason why we do not want to mess with the concealed carry permitting process is sometimes Idahoans will want to have a concealed carry permit for purposes of reciprocity in other states,” he said. It also wouldn’t change the current “enhanced” concealed carry permit law, which requires more training, is recognized in more states, and under current Idaho law, allows enhanced permit holders to carry concealed weapons on public university campuses in the state. Nate said the new bill, which he’s not yet ready to release publicly, wouldn’t apply on university campuses. “We didn’t even go there,” he said.
“Ours is just merely about how you can carry your weapon and have it with you in Idaho. So we haven’t gone into the areas of who can own, possess or purchase a gun,” he said.
The Idaho Sheriff’s Association, in a Dec. 14 letter to Nate, said the latest draft of the bill addressed its concerns about the ability of “felons, the adjudicated mentally ill, illegal aliens and others of a similar nature to carry concealed weapons,” but the association said it “declined to either support or oppose the revised draft at this time,” adding, “We intend to seek guidance from House and Senate leadership prior to taking a position.”
In their press release, Nate and Scott quoted two supportive county sheriffs, Madison County Sheriff Roy C. Klingler and Bonner County Sheriff Daryl Wheeler. Klingler was quoted as saying, “Constitutional Carry is common sense legislation that will help do away with unnecessary regulation that hinders the Second Amendment’s true meaning.” And Wheeler: “The bill would not change law enforcement tactics. Also, it is well known that most persons who commit criminal acts do not follow the permitting rules anyway.”