by Andrew Crisp
Idahoans may soon carry more weapons without worry, should lawmakers pass a bill sponsored by Mountain Home Republican Rep. Pete Nielsen.
Referring to House Bill 223 as his "knife bill," Nielsen testified before the House State Affairs Committee this morning that current concealed weapons language is too strict. His bill would clarify the law to allow Idahoans to carry blades and other weapons without a concealed weapons permit.
Idahoans would be free to conceal carry "any knife, cleaver or other instrument primarily used in the processing, preparation or eating of food, any knife with a blade four (4) inches or less or any lawfully possessed taser, stun gun or pepper spray."
Nielsen reworked the bill after a Feb. 21 meeting. He told lawmakers this morning he worked with the Idaho Sheriff's Association to craft the bill.
"I originally wanted a seven-inch blade because I was worried about hunting knives and things of that nature. They wouldn’t concede to that, but they would concede to a four-inch blade," he said.
A previous version of the bill did not include food-related knives, said Nielsen. With the new language, blades of any size primarily used for "processing, preparation or eating of food" could be carried without a concealed weapons permit.
"This one thing kept bothering me very very much. How are you going to go to the grocery store, buy a couple of knives for the kitchen and not be in violation of the law?" he said.
Nielsen said picnic-goers and chefs who take their knives home at night would both be protected if his bill passes. Asking few questions, the House State Affairs Committee advanced the bill to the House floor this morning, following a unanimous "yes" vote.