Starting July 1, Idahoans will be able to defend themselves -- without needing permission from the government to do so. You no longer will have to see your sheriff, prove your worthiness and pay a fee to carry a weapon concealed. It’s a big day for freedom. Equally important, it’s a big day for the safety and security of all Idahoans.
Permitless-concealed carry is one the great achievements of the 2016 legislative session, made possible by the tenacity of gun rights champions who had the vision of a state where people don’t need a permit as part of their Second Amendment rights. The pro-self defense victory serves as a contrast to the efforts taking place in Washington, D.C., where progressive politicians, surrounded daily by professional armed security, and their allies in the media, have used every tragedy that has involved a gun to try to upend the the Second Amendment.
Idahoans have long enjoyed, as a staple of their state constitution, the right to openly carry. But lawmakers have resisted the right for Idahoans to conceal their weapons under a coat or in a purse, even though legislators granted themselves and other elected officials that right years ago. Some argued that the government needed to authorize ordinary mortals to carry concealed.
Changing the law so it applies to all Idahoans was the brainchild of Greg Pruett of the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance. But Greg quickly learned, pro-gun Idaho lawmakers weren’t going to simply accept a change in policy because it’s a darned good idea. It took years of negotiating, proposing and eventually nagging.
The lesson learned from this experience: Even in Idaho, where a legislator’s National Rifle Association ranking is like gold, Second Amendment rights do not come easily. They must be fought for valiantly, passionately and tirelessly. And even though this victory was years in the making, don’t be terribly surprised if the Legislature again debates gun restrictions in 2017, as part of the larger national debate about mass shootings, terrorism and national security.
That’s why the next several days, weeks and months are a great time to, as the Idaho Freedom Foundation says, “Reveal your Conceal.” Go to IdahoFreedom.org/Reveal-Your-Conceal and tell the world why your Second Amendment rights are important to you and why you’ve decided to carry concealed. It might be because you want to defend your family or your friends and neighbors. It might be because you believe we’re all safer — at the checkout line, movie theater or gas station — when we have a means of self defense. Maybe you have a personal story of how your Second Amendment right saved your life or the lives of people dear to you. If so, please share it.
With Independence Day just around the corner, it’s time celebrate and to educate. Let’s do so that other Americans who are not so blessed as we are in Idaho will come to understand and appreciate what the U.S. Constitution means when it says: the right of the people to keep and bear arms are not to be infringed.