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House Bill 705 — Extreme emergencies, govt limits

House Bill 705 — Extreme emergencies, govt limits

Parrish Miller
March 3, 2022

Bill Description: House Bill 705 would clarify that firearm rights may not be abridged during declared extreme emergencies. 

Rating: +1

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 705 amends Section 46-601, Idaho Code, which deals with the powers of the governor during declared extreme emergencies. 

This bill adds language stating that firearm-related businesses are life-sustaining and essential: "The transport, storage, transfer, sale, import and export, distribution, repair, maintenance, and manufacture of and commerce in firearms, ammunition, and related accessories and components, shooting ranges, and other goods and services directly related to lawful firearm possession, use, storage, repair, maintenance, sale or transfer, and training in the use of firearms are declared to be life-sustaining, essential businesses and services for the purposes of safety and security in times of declared emergency or any other statutorily authorized responses to disaster, war, acts of terrorism, riot or civil disorder, public health crises, or emergencies of whatever kind or nature."

The bill says that during an extreme emergency, the government shall not "suspend or revoke a license to carry concealed weapons or refuse to accept and process an application for a license to carry concealed weapons, except in accordance with the provisions of chapter 33, title 18, Idaho Code."

The bill also says, "Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (5) of this section, seize, commandeer, or confiscate in any manner any privately owned firearm, ammunition, or firearms or ammunition components that are possessed, carried, displayed, sold, transferred, transported, stored, or used in connection with otherwise lawful conduct."


Analyst Note: The concept addressed in the last paragraph of the analysis is laudable, but the reference to "subsection (5)" seems to have been copied from Senate Bill 1262, which dealt with a similar subject in a different section of code. 

Subsection 5 of section 46-601 (the section amended by this bill) says, "Nothing in this section shall prohibit the governor from deploying the national guard as he may deem proper." The language related to seizure and commandeering during an emergency is found in subsection 5 of Section 46-1008, Idaho Code.

House Bill 705 will need to be amended or replaced to correct this error.

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