- Associated Press - Monday, February 9, 2015

POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) - Two eastern Idaho law enforcement officials and a firearms instructor say allowing residents to carry concealed weapons without needing a permit is a bad idea.

Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen, Pocatello Police Chief Scott Marchand and firearms instructor Sam Clark said that the “Constitutional Carry” bill introduced by lawmakers last week presents problems.

“It scares me,” Marchand told the Idaho State Journal (https://bit.ly/1Dx4FOp ) “It would definitely make the job of the police a lot tougher. I’m a proponent of the Second Amendment, but I don’t see how this helps us as a society.”

Currently, Idaho residents who want to carry a concealed weapon need to get a permit. There are two types of permits available in Idaho, one of which requires training and is recognized as valid in some other states. The enhanced permit also allows holders to carry concealed weapons on college and university campuses, but with some restrictions.

Nielsen said he likes to be able to do background checks on people who want a concealed-carry permit to find out if they have a criminal record to discover past behavior such as domestic violence or a mental health history.

“I’d also like anyone who carries a weapon to have some training,” Nielsen said. He said he would prefer Idaho go to a one-permit system that requires training.

Clark provides weapons training at Idaho Combat Systems. He said training should be required to carry a weapon because of the added responsibility and legal issues involved if the weapon is actually used.

“I’m all in favor of people having the right to carry, but they shouldn’t be doing it without knowing how to do it safely,” Clark said. “When you carry a firearm, you’re responsibility goes up tenfold. Once you fire a gun, you’ve opened yourself up to a bunch of legal issues.”

Clark noted that the classes he offers cover Idaho law when it comes to firearm use, including in self-defense situations. Idaho’s self-defense statute requires that a person’s life or the life of someone else be in jeopardy before a firearm is used, Clark said.

“Some people think it’s legal to shoot someone who is on your property,” Clark said. “That’s simply not true.”

Clark was also concerned that police, without being able to check records, would start treating everyone as though they were armed.

Nielsen said if the bill is passed into law, officers would have no idea who is or isn’t carrying a concealed weapon.

“My officers need to be protected,” he said. “I’m not ready for that (no permits) yet.”

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Information from: Idaho State Journal, https://www.journalnet.com

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