A measure to provide residents of Idaho an avenue to exercise the right of permit-less concealed carry of firearms is before the Idaho State Affairs Committee in the form of Senate Bill 1389. The Idaho Second Amendment Alliance has worked tirelessly for four years to introduce permit-less carry, sometimes colloquially referenced as “Constitutional Carry”. The measures introduced by the ISAA over the last several years, backed by almost 10,000 citizen signatures and petitions, have drawn criticism from legislators, law enforcement agencies, and even the NRA.
SB1389 originated in the Idaho Senate from Curt McKenzie, (R) Nampa, Idaho. It has 13 legislative co-sponsors, representing just over 12% of the entire membership of the Idaho State legislature. The bill was recently backed by the Idaho Sheriff’s Association who will testify in support of the bill at its scheduled public hearing. Despite widespread public support, over one tenth of the entire legislature co-sponsoring the bill, and support from a statewide association of law enforcement officers, several chief law enforcement officers have voice opposition to the measure in the form of a guest opinion to the Idaho Statesman. The opinion can be found here:
In particular, one portion of the opinion reads: “Without the requirement to possess a concealed weapons license, law enforcement will lack a lawful means of preventing individuals prohibited from lawfully possessing firearms (i.e. convicted felons, prohibited possessors or psychologically impaired). Additionally SB1389 does not require individuals carrying a concealed weapon to notify law enforcement of the concealed weapon during a police contact. As a result of these safety concerns we oppose this legislation as currently written.”
I don’t know whether to be terrified that chief law enforcement officers don’t know the law… or be disappointed that they are misrepresenting it. I hope for the latter.
The requirement to possess a concealed weapons license DOES NOT in any way, shape, or form create a lawful means of ~preventing~ prohibited individuals from possessing firearms. No prohibited individual with criminal intent is going to forego possessing a firearm because they can’t pass the requisite background check required by the permit process. All the permit does is cause eligible citizens to submit to a background check and fee. Private weapon sales are cash and carry in Idaho. No 4473, no transfer, no NICS check. The assertion that a permit stops prohibited people from carrying… when Idaho is an Open Carry state… where the possession of a weapon DOES NOT PROVIDE PROBABLE CAUSE to stop and identify… is categorically false.
Additionally, there is currently no duty whatsoever to notify law enforcement during a police contact.
The compulsion to challenge each misleading or outright false point (which is most of them) is hopelessly unquellable. Speaking to the two ways in which SB 1389 “will weaken public safety in two fundamental ways”:
- Anyone can open carry without any requisite training whatsoever. The permit doesn’t stop someone from concealing without training, and it certainly doesn’t deter the criminally minded.
- Criminal background checks ensure (more like affirm) that the eligible are eligible. Those who aren’t… aren’t… and they will carry anyway.
The concealed weapon permit system is not permission to check and see if a person is eligible to carry. I open carry almost every day. I have never been stopped and identified. People have called the police. They wouldn’t even approach me except that I walk over and shake their hands. I open carry everywhere it is legal; Statehouse, airport (outside TSA checkpoint), license branch, bank, gas station, grocery store, seriously, everywhere. The exercise of my right to keep and bear arms is as much a part of my daily routine as taking a shower and carrying my wallet. I stand in line in front of, behind, next to… everywhere with regard to law enforcement; weapon in plain sight, properly holstered. Not a peep. They have no way to know that I am permitted in 3 states. Why? Because they aren’t allowed to ask. If a person commits an act to give them probable cause to stop and identify… the concealed weapon permit is hardly the watershed upon which they determine whether or not the individual is prohibited.
The one thing the author got right was this: “The passing of this bill will not make our streets nor our citizens safer.” He’s right. But it doesn’t make them any less safe either. The only… only… hook the author has to hang a hat on is the issue of training. But that in and of itself opens some points of contention.
Currently, in Idaho, all that is needed to meet the training requirement for the standard permit (there are two levels of permit in Idaho) is hunter safety. That class does nothing to address when a concealed weapon can be used for self-defense, nor does it address the nuances of open vs concealed carry. How many people hunt with a compact concealed carry weapon, or try to conceal large caliber rifles? The training requirement is effectually symbolic as opposed to practical. Then there is the issue of open carry; no training required there.
Someone will inevitably say: “I have to take a test, pay a fee, and have insurance for a car….”, to which I say… show me your Constitutionally guaranteed, enumerated right to drive. Let’s see it. You want to tax and regulate firearms? Why then aren’t we creating licenses for journalists or making people take a test or pay a fee to vote? How about people who want a trial by jury have to pay a fee to offset the cost of selection and the juror’s lost wages? Why… because we don’t tax rights; as soon as it is taxed it falls out of the realm of rights and into the realm of privilege.
I took the classes, paid the fees, and subjected myself to the background checks and fingerprinting because I follow the rule of law… even when they are misguided and overreaching. This bill is a step in the right direction.
There is inherent risk in liberty. I do not consider “security”, and the false sense therein, as a sufficient trade.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com