The movement to enact “constitutional carry” of weapons has added another notch to the growing list of states that do not require a permit for individuals to carry concealed weapons.
On March 21, the Idaho legislature sent Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter legislation that would make the Gem State the ninth U.S. state to acknowledge that individuals have a natural right “to keep and bear arms,” and do not need a permit or license from the government to carry concealed weapons. Senate Bill 1389 passed the Idaho Senate by a vote of 27 to 8 on March 16 and then passed the House on March 18 by a vote of 54 to 15.
The bill will become law today without Governor Otter’s signature, unless he vetoes it, which is not considered likely. The governor’s press secretary, Jon Hanian, told The New American it is Governor Otter’s habit not to announce beforehand whether or not he intends to sign a bill into law. As we go to press he has still not signed the bill, but even in the unlikely event that he did veto it, the House and Senate could easily muster the two-thirds majorities needed to override his veto.
SB 1389 states: “The legislature hereby finds that the people of Idaho have reserved for themselves the right to keep and bear arms while granting the legislature the authority to regulate the carrying of weapons concealed. The provisions of this chapter regulating the carrying of weapons must be strictly construed so as to give maximum scope to the rights retained by the people.”
The most pertinent part of the new legislation — Section 1, Subsection 4(f) — provides that a person is entitled to carry a concealed weapon without a permit if the individual: a) is over 21 years of age; b) is an Idaho resident; and c) is not covered by a number of restrictions specifically spelled out relative to criminal history and mental status.
The new Idaho legislation also provides that persons between the ages of 18 and 21 may apply for a concealed weapon license, and the sheriff of the county in which that individual resides “shall issue” the license, if the person meets the other requirements of the law. Unlike some state concealed carry weapon (CCW) laws, SB 1389 does not restrict “deadly weapons” to firearms. It also allows concealed carry of “any dirk, dirk knife, bowie knife, dagger or firearm,” as well as “any other weapon, device, instrument, material or substance that is designed and manufactured to be readily capable of causing death or serious bodily injury.”
The other eight states that recognize “permitless,” “constitutional,” or “unrestricted” carry of concealed weapons are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Maine, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming. March has proven to be a banner month for constitutional carry advocates, with the West Virginia legislature passing a bill similar to Idaho’s earlier in the month, and then decisively overriding Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s veto of the legislation. Legislative efforts to pass constitutional carry laws are underway in nearly two dozen additional states.