A bill sponsors believe will straighten out and expand concealed carry rights in Idaho cleared the Idaho House Tuesday, but one gun rights group says the plan needs work.
The House approved the plan, which is backed by the National Rifle Association, on a 57 to 11 vote. It now moves to the Senate.
The measure, backed by Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, would allow Idahoans to conceal guns without a permit outside of city limits, plus it provides statewide uniformity for permit fees. Boyle said some counties were overcharging for permits to fund law enforcement services.
The plan also allows elected officials to continue carrying concealed weapons without a license. A previous iteration of the measure removed the perk.
Greg Pruett, president of the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance, said the bill is an establishment-backed measure that doesn’t have public support.
“It has some good stuff in it, but these other issues need to be discussed before it moved on, but they chose to push it through,” Pruett told IdahoReporter.com.
“Had they actually come to the citizens a long time ago, we could have worked it out by now.”
Pruett said some language is problematic, including provisions relating to mental health checks and definitions for certain weapons. Pruett also worries the bill gives county sheriffs too much power.
“The establishment got what they wanted,” he said. “They ignored the people and instead chose to work on their own backroom deal using the NRA for cover.”
Pruett sponsored a House bill earlier this year to give residents full concealed carry rights without a permit, but legislative leaders declined to hear the plan.
Democrat Melissa Wintrow of Boise opposed Boyle’s bill, telling colleagues a permit isn’t hard to obtain and allows for at least some measure of public safety.
“I don’t think safety stops at our city limits,” Wintrow said. “I do think that is a little questionable.”
Rep. Rick Youngblood, R-Nampa, supported the bill, but made it a point to object to keeping the special privilege for elected officials.
Rep. John Gannon of Boise and Rep. Paulette Jordan of Plummer were the only Democrats to support the bill. Rep. Rich Wills, R-Glenns Ferry, was the lone Republican to vote against it.