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Permitless concealed carry concept lives on Senate floor

Permitless concealed carry concept lives on Senate floor

Dustin Hurst
April 1, 2015
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April 1, 2015

Permitless concealed carry is likely dead for the legislative year, but the idea lives on.

During a floor debate Tuesday, Sen. Jim Rice, R-Caldwell, said he supports giving all Idahoans the right to carry concealed weapons without a permit.

“I think we give that same treatment to the rest of the citizens of the state,” said Rice, a two-term veteran.

That same treatment is a the right to carry without a permit, a perk Idaho code gives to elected officials -- including Idaho lawmakers.

“I still think they should get the same treatment we do,” Rice said during debate on House Bill 301, a measure to rewrite the state’s concealed carry regulations.

That bill, cleared on a 30 to 5 vote in the Senate, now heads to Gov. Butch Otter’s desk for consideration. It expands firearms rights by allowing permitless concealed carry, but only outside city limits. The measure also clarified how much county sheriffs can charge for concealed permits due to concerns law enforcement officials were overcharging to subsidize operating budgets.

An earlier version of House Bill 301, which was written in large part by the National Rifle Association, removed the permitless carry for elected officials. After complaints from stakeholders, including Idaho Second Amendment Alliance President Greg Pruett, a new version came forward with the exemption in place.

The bill’s passage won’t appease Pruett and his group. Pruett, a military veteran and Middleton resident, pitched House Bill 89 this year to allow law-abiding citizens to conceal guns without a permit, otherwise known as constitutional carry.

On Tuesday, Pruett scoffed at the Senate’s actions.

“The Idaho Legislature passed another bill designed to look and be pro-gun but essentially accomplishes nothing that Idaho gun owners have been asking for,” he said. “Idaho is not the pro-gun place we once thought it was. Passing Constitutional Carry is the only way to get us back on that track."

House Bill 89 never received a full hearing in the House, as leaders declined to hear it.

Still, the idea lives. Rice said while House Bill 301 was a step in the right direction, lawmakers should examine extending permitless carry to all law-abiding Idahoans.

He wasn’t the only one who endorsed the idea, either. Freshman Sen. Lori Den Hartog, R-Meridian, also suggested expanding permitless carry.

Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas and Vermont already allow residents there to conceal weapons without a permit.

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