Teton County will soon lower its concealed weapons permit fee, the highest charge for the gun license among Idaho’s 44 counties.
In a call with IdahoReporter.com Thursday, Mitch Golden, an administrator in the sheriff’s office, said his county will soon cut the $115 first-time permit fee by a significant amount.
“We are in the process of getting that number changed,” Golden said. “I don’t have the figure in front of me at the moment.
He hinted, though, the fee could drop to somewhere between $60 and $70.
That number would come closer to matching other eastern Idaho counties for permit charges. Just 96 miles away, concealed weapons permit applicants pay just $62 for the background check and identification card in Bannock County.
Permit costs vary wildly across the state. Permit-seekers in Bonner County in Idaho’s Panhandle pay $87 for their first-time licenses. Gem County charges $93 for first-timers.
Golden said a concealed weapons reform law passed earlier this year spurred the drop in Teton’s fee. That bill limited counties to a $20 fee plus actual costs of background checks and fingerprinting for first-time applicants and $15 plus expenses for renewals.
That law took effect July 1. Teton County has yet to comply with it.
Golden said the permit money funded fingerprinting systems, including maintenance and warranties. Teton boasts a digital fingerprint system, which Golden characterized as unique in the eastern Idaho region.
Cutting the fee, he added, might hamper the agency’s ability to keep up with system maintenance.
Greg Pruett, founder and president of Idaho Second Amendment Alliance, knocked Teton County for its slow compliance with state law.
“We are pleased to hear that the Teton County Sheriff will finally lower their costs,” Pruett said. “There was no justification for such high prices especially since the new law took effect a month ago.”
Pruett sponsored legislation to eliminate required permitting for concealed weapons carriers this year, but Idaho House leadership declined to allow the bill a hearing.
Pruett, working with the Idaho Freedom Foundation, exposed the wildly varying permit prices in a video released two weeks ago. KIFI Local News 8 in Idaho Falls picked up the story after Pruett released his findings.
Though he sees this as a small victory for personal rights, the ISAA president said Thursday he wants to push for more.
“I still wonder why the government think it can charge Idahoans to exercise their rights,” he said.
Pruett may sponsor optional concealed permitting in the 2016 legislative session.