The Senate State Affairs Committee approved legislation Monday to allow law-abiding Idahoans, 21 and older, to conceal-carry firearms without a permit inside city limits.
Senators passed the bill on a 6 to 3 vote, which advances the bill to the Senate floor for further deliberation. Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, who lost a son to gun violence in 2003, sided with committee Democrats to oppose the bill.
The plan, backed by the National Rifle Association, Idaho Second Amendment Alliance, Idaho Freedom Foundation and other pro-gun groups, would allow Idahoans 21 and older to conceal-carry their guns without a permit, provided they don’t have any violent criminal convictions on their records.
For Idahoans between the ages of 18 and 20, the issue becomes a little murkier. Those residents could still conceal-carry outside city limits, but would need training and a license to do so within city boundaries.
Greg Pruett, president of the Idaho Secondment Alliance and longtime advocate of the permitless-carry concept, told senators that removing the license requirement won’t lead to an increase in gun violence because most Idahoans will continue following the law.
“That little card in the wallet changes nothing,” Pruett said of the permit’s effect, or lack thereof, on gun violence rates.
Hannah Sharp, a Boise resident and volunteer for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, told senators the permitting system is effective and works to keep Idaho families safe.
“Let’s keep what works,” Sharp said.
Idaho Freedom Foundation Vice President Fred Birnbaum testified that the system in place is confusing. He noted that even wearing a coat over an openly carried firearm would place him in violation of Idaho law.
“It’s a distinction without a difference,” he testified.
Supporters believe the bill won’t affect Idaho’s reciprocity agreements with other states, if the legislation finds its way into Idaho code. Reciprocity agreements allow permit holders in Idaho to conceal-carry in several other states, and vice versa, without individuals needing state-specific permits.
Note: The Idaho Freedom Foundation publishes IdahoReporter.com.