by Carissa Wolf
The House State Affairs Committee voted Monday morning to move forward a package of gun bills that take, according to sponsors, "defensive stands" against federal gun regulation.
“The message is that we don’t want the federal government messing with our Second Amendment rights,” said Iona Republican Rep. Thomas Loertscher, House State Affairs chairman, said of the unanimous committee decision to print the bills.
Lawmakers took less than 30 minutes to move through Monday's agenda, primarily focused on firearms.
“There is no dissent here. These are bills that ought to be out there,” Loertscher told Citydesk after his committee approved the introduction of two bills aimed at limiting federal regulation of weapons in Idaho.
The first measure offers a defense against Congressional proposals to ban semi-automatic weapons by penalizing Idaho employees who might be in a position to enforce new federal gun restrictions. Any Idaho law enforcement officer who confiscates newly banned ammunition or guns could face misdemeanor charges, jail time and a $1,000 fine if the bill passes. A second measure would ban federal regulation of Idaho-made weapons that stay in state.
The House State Affairs Committee also moved a proposal forward that would prevent cities from regulating concealed weapons and gave another measure aimed at enhancing the recognition of concealed weapons permits and the training of concealed weapons carriers a “due pass” recommendation.
“If we have concealed weapons permits, then those need to be recognized as broadly in the United States as possible, and that’s what that’s aimed at. So that’s a good idea," said Loertscher. "And I’m a big fan of training. Before anyone gets a concealed weapons permit, they should have some training."
The speedy approval of the gun bill agenda came, in large part, because of an absence of citizen testimony.
“I think that speaks of Idaho citizens and what their desires are. This being out there for as long as it has been and not hearing any public testimony whatsoever is kind of an indicator that people are saying that we’re looking out for them,” Loertscher said.
Supporters of the measures took to the Statehouse on Saturday to affirm their right to bear arms and opposition to state and federal gun regulation. Hundreds of pro-gun supporters strapped one, two and sometimes three rifles and shotguns to their bodies before entering the Statehouse to decry gun regulation as part of a rally that wrapped the right to bear arms around patriotism, freedom and chivalry.
“We’re here to celebrate our God-given right,” said rally speaker Jason Robinson. “We’re here today to protect our women. An armed woman is a safer woman.”