Bill Description: House Bill 676 would clarify and strengthen Idaho's preemption law on firearms, which prohibits most local regulations.
Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Examples include restrictions on speech, public assembly, the press, privacy, private property, or firearms. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution?
House Bill 676 amends Section 18-3302, Idaho Code, to say that neither the state nor its political subdivisions can prohibit the otherwise legal possession of firearms on property "that is leased, rented, licensed, loaned, permitted, or occupied, whether for consideration or not, to any private entity or person when such private entity or person does not exclusively and continuously possess and enjoy the use of such property for a period less than ninety (90) days."
This will ensure that Idahoans are not prevented from legally possessing a firearm in a public park or county fairgrounds, for example, just because an event may be taking place there.
House Bill 676 also amends Section 18-3302J, Idaho Code, to expand the list of firearm regulations that counties, cities, and other political subdivisions of the state may not adopt or enforce. The bill adds that they cannot adopt a "tax" or any "order, policy, directive, or lease agreement as either landlord or tenant" that would infringe on the rights of individuals to own and carry firearms. The bill explicitly prohibits these entities from requiring the "licensing or registration of firearms or ammunition or any firearm or ammunition components or related accessories."
The bill also says these government entities may not "display" anything intended to "discourage" the exercise of these rights.
House Bill 676 further amends Section 18-3302J, Idaho Code, to add a new subsection allowing for civil enforcement against a government entity that violates the state's firearm regulation preemption law. The bill says "any person or public entity who violates" the prepetition law "shall be liable for civil damages and subject to declaratory and injunctive relief."
Affected parties may also sue for "nominal or actual damages" as well as "reasonable attorney's fees and costs."
This is an important addition to the law because at present, there is no enforcement mechanism or penalties, even when a political subdivision blatantly violates the preemption law.