BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Idaho lawmakers advanced legislation on Monday that would allow state residents 21 years old and up carry hidden guns without permits or training.
Currently, Idaho allows people to carry a gun openly - in a holster, for instance - without a permit. The bill would let people carry concealed, loaded guns without permits, such as by wearing a coat over a holster. People ages 18 through 20 would still need a permit and training.
“You could really call this a ‘put on your coat’ bill,” said Greg Pruett with the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance. “It allows gun owners to put on a coat without fear of breaking the law.”
Meanwhile, the current system of permitting will remain in effect, but it will be optional for state residents. The law won’t take effect until 90 days after the Legislature adjourns for the session.
The Senate State Affairs Committee approved the bill on a 6-3 vote with no debate or discussion. Democratic Sens. Michelle Stennett, of Ketchum, and Cherie Buckner-Webb, of Boise, along with Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, of Idaho Falls, voted against it.
“If signed into law, SB 1389 would dismantle our current system and put Idahoans at risk, including law enforcement officers who risk their safety to protect us,” said Hannah Sharp, with the Idaho chapter of Moms Demand Actions for Gun Sense in America. “So why are our elected leaders attempting to undo a system that has worked for a century and is supported by law enforcement?”
Everytown for Gun Safety, a group funded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, along with police chiefs in Boise, Meridian and Garden City also oppose the legislation because of public safety concerns.
“I will tell you that as far as our crimes in Boise, I’ve never had an incident with open carry,” Boise police Chief Bill Bones said. “It’s always been someone carrying a concealed weapon.”
If approved, which is likely in the Republican-dominated Statehouse in the middle of an election year, Idaho would join a short list of states with no such requirements. This includes Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Maine, Vermont, Wyoming and West Virginia. Arkansas has a similar law, but the current and previous attorneys general have disagreed on the interpretation. A handful of similar proposals are also making their way through other state legislatures this year.
“(This bill) actually eliminates the presumption that someone carrying a firearm is criminal. I don’t think that should be a presumption at all,” said Dakota Moore, a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association.
The legislation is SB 1389.
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