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Idaho Senate approves bill on concealed carry permits

BOISE – A bill that essentially makes concealed-weapons permits optional in Idaho passed the state Senate on Wednesday.

The legislation now heads to the Idaho House, and if it passes there and receives the governor’s signature, it would take effect July 1.

The bill says Idahoans age 21 or over wouldn’t need a permit to carry a concealed gun inside city limits in the state.

It specifies that people who aren’t legally qualified to carry a gun, for reasons including severe mental illness, drug use and felony convictions, couldn’t take advantage of the new law, but unlike the state’s current permit system, there are no background checks to determine that.

“The Idaho Constitution does give us the right to regulate concealed carry, and we certainly still do that,” said Sen. Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens.

“Even with the passing of this law we have many regulations on concealed carry. But this corrects, in my opinion, what was a wrong infringement on individuals’ rights and I’m proud to support this.”

But Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, said Idahoans don’t want the change, noting that current rules require basic gun training to have a concealed-carry permit.

“Why should we not require some basic gun training?” Stennett said. “The current concealed gun laws work,” she said.

Several Idaho chiefs of police are opposed to the bill, but the Idaho Sheriffs Association voted to support it.

The bill, backed by the National Rifle Association, has 22 legislative co-sponsors, all Republicans, including House Speaker Scott Bedke and House Majority Leader Mike Moyle.

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