BOISE — Legislation to enhance protections for gun-makers, sellers and weapons carriers during declared emergencies in Idaho headed to the governor’s desk on Wednesday.
The House voted 58-9 on Wednesday to approve the measure that alters the state’s disaster preparedness act by prohibiting the closing of gun-related businesses during emergencies.
Republican Gov. Brad Little issued a temporary stay-at-home order in early 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Some workers and businesses were declared essential and allowed to continue, including gun businesses.
The new law would make sure they stay open under future governors. The legislation also prevents Idaho’s concealed weapons laws from being circumvented.
“This is an essential bill to protect our citizens’ Second Amendment rights,” said bill sponsor Rep. Judy Boyle in a statement after the vote. “It recognizes the reality that self-defense is an absolutely essential business, and it protects lawful gun owners from illegitimate and unconstitutional seizures under false pretenses by an overreaching government.”
The legislation also prevents Idaho’s concealed weapons laws from being circumvented, and that weapons used legally can’t be confiscated during disasters. The bill also clarifies that the protections regarding firearms also cover ammunition, components and accessories.
Little’s chief legal counsel has said the state is still under an active emergency declaration due to the coronavirus pandemic, allowing the state to get money from a disaster emergency account and giving Little flexibility to deploy the Idaho National Guard to help with health care.
He also said there are currently no restrictions, and there have been no restrictions on any rights or constitutional privileges.
The Senate approved the bill earlier this month on a 30-5 vote.
Boyle said the bill received support from the National Rifle Association, the Idaho Fraternal Order of Police, the Idaho Chiefs of Police Association and the Idaho Sheriff’s Association.
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