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Posts tagged: gun control

Gun laws make Idaho a haven for firearms supporters

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.

Risch on background checks: ‘It’s just ineffective’

Idaho Sen. Jim Risch defended a planned filibuster against allowing a vote on the president's gun legislation to Anderson Cooper tonight, but also said it won't work. “It is a procedural method by which if you're successful you can stop passage of a bill,” Risch told Cooper. But, he said, “I think there's clearly 60 votes to override a filibuster. There's going to be debate on this.”

On the same program, Cooper interviewed former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the mother of a slain 6-year-old Sandy Hook Elementary School student; both spoke out in favor of the proposal for universal background checks for gun purchasers. Pressed by Cooper, Risch said, “No. 1, it doesn't work, and No. 2, it's placing a burden on a law-abiding citizen.” He said, “It isn't that it goes too far - it's just ineffective.”

Risch said, “We need to enforce the laws we have. … We ought to focus on keeping the guns out of the hands of convicted felons and people who have mental illness.”

Cooper said Risch was the only one of the 14 senators who have threatened to filibuster who agreed to appear on the program.

Risch, Crapo both threaten to filibuster Obama gun legislation; Risch to discuss on national TV tonight

Idaho Sen. Jim Risch will appear on two national news shows tonight, CBS News with Scott Pelley at 6:30 eastern time (4:30 MT) and Anderson Cooper 360 at 8 eastern (6 p.m. MT), to discuss his threat to filibuster against gun legislation in the Senate. Risch is one of 13 senators, who also include Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo, who have signed on to a letter led by Sen. Rand Paul threatening to filibuster any gun control legislation, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid prepares to bring up President Barack Obama’s gun control legislative package. Yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell joined the group, bringing it up to 14 GOP senators.

The letter, which Risch signed onto on March 22, says, “We the undersigned intend to oppose any legislation that would infringe on the American people’s constitutional right to bear arms, or on their ability to exercise this right without being subjected to government surveillance. … We will oppose the motion to proceed to any legislation that will serve as a vehicle for any additional gun restrictions.”

The president’s package includes universal background checks for gun purchasers and new laws against gun trafficking; amendments could address assault weapons or high-capacity magazines.

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About this blog

Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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