Rickety Road to Permitless Carry, How Idaho MADE it Happen

The Four-Year Rickety Road to Permitless Carry in Idaho. How the People of Idaho MADE it Happen.
By Alexandria Kincaid, Attorney.

Idaho Permitless Carry Passes
Idaho Permitless Carry Passes
Alexandria Kincaid, Attorney
Alexandria Kincaid, Attorney

Idaho –  -(Ammoland.com)- One rainy morning four years ago, I walked out of Boise’s largest gun shop to find two gentlemen standing in front of the store, clipboards in hand, requesting signatures on a petition.

The petition was to request that Idaho citizens support a permitless carry law. That was the first time I met Greg Pruett, and I offered my help with his endeavor.

Idaho is known as a gun friendly state with many, if not most, residents owning at least one firearm. If a law-abiding citizen can own a gun, shouldn’t that person also be allowed to carry it without requesting special government permission? After all, the United States Supreme Court has confirmed that the Second Amendment protects our individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense purposes. Having a firearm in your home is helpful, but the ability to protect yourself outside your home where the criminals and terrorists lurk seems pretty basic to most gun owners.

But instead of “legal to own, legal to carry” laws, Idaho has clung to a special permitting process for law abiding gun owners who wish to carry a legal firearm tucked under a shirt or jacket. The law requires basic training, imposes conditions on age and background, and requires an Idaho Sheriff’s stamp of approval, UNLESS, you are one of the few Idahoans who fall into the law’s exception to this general permitting process.

You see, the politicians who passed Idaho’s concealed carry law also wrote themselves out of the law – any city, county, state, or publicly elected Idaho officials are immune and may completely bypass the need to jump through the permitting hoop.

Greg Pruett, a native Idahoan, decided to change that. Greg, a military veteran who served over 13 years until he was forced into medical retirement after a tour in Iraq, explained to me that in 2012, he had learned that other states (Vermont, Alaska, Arizona and Wyoming) already had permitless carry. Greg, along with thousands of other Idahoans, believes Idaho should lead the nation in gun rights rather than follow.

Idaho Second Amendment Alliance
Idaho Second Amendment Alliance

In an effort to unite Idaho gun owners to change the law, Greg organized the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance, a grassroots gun rights organization that would answer to no one outside the state. Since its inception in 2012, the ISAA has grown to over tens of thousands of supporters across Idaho. The ISAA has beaten back dozens of illegal ordinances, defeated anti-gun legislation, and led the fight for permitless carry in Idaho.

Part of the fight for permitless carry has been an educational endeavor. The public and the politicians need to understand that permitless carry does not allow criminals or the mentally ill to carry a firearm. It also does not eliminate the permitting process – it simply makes the permit optional. The permitless carry law only affects law abiding gun owners by granting them permission to carry their legal firearms with them outside of their homes and relieving them of the onerous and outdated concealed carry restrictions. Greg Pruett correctly calls the law an “under the coat” law, because it simply allows law-abiding citizens to lawfully carry their firearms concealed, as in “under a coat.” This is why law enforcement officials generally support permitless carry laws. In fact, the Idaho Sheriff’s Association and the Fraternal Order of Police chose to support Idaho’s permitless carry bill in 2016.

Permitless carry also does not necessarily eliminate the state permitting process. The way Idaho’s permitless carry law is written, people who want a permit can still get one. Permits are useful for reciprocity purposes, so you can still carry concealed when you travel to other states. The permist are also still useful for bypassing the NICS background check when buying a gun from a dealer.

Permitless carry protects law-abiding citizens, as it eliminates one of the many legal traps for gun owners: Concealed carry laws frequently impose arbitrary, geographical boundaries on where a law-abiding citizen can and cannot carry a firearm. Do you know where a city’s limit starts and stops? If you carry a firearm in Idaho concealed, you may do so without a permit outside of city limits. If you cross the line into a city, your firearm is still concealed, and you do not have a permit under the current law, you can be charged with a misdemeanor. In this way, concealed carry laws, as well as laws surrounding what firearms can be lawfully possessed and how they can be transported, create a huge pitfall for Americans who have no intention of violating a law, but who inadvertently wind up criminals because they carry their firearm the wrong way or into the wrong place.

I routinely help these Americans in my practice, because they have broken a law such as carrying a firearm the wrong way or carrying the wrong type of firearm in a place where they were not allowed to do so. gun owners.

These laws are traps for the unwary and otherwise law-abiding

Constitutional Carry
Constitutional Carry

The first year Greg proposed permitless carry in Idaho, he took his idea to Idaho’s “pro-gun” legislators. Greg told me that he learned the hard way that the Idaho politicians, who enjoy an elite status where they do not need a government permit to carry a concealed weapon, didn't really seem to care that the rest of Idahoans didn’t want to ask government permission either. The ISAA gathered 3,000 signatures that first year to make permitless carry a reality for the rest of the state. Despite the public’s clear desire to change the law, the politicians instead focused their efforts on passing more gun-related restrictions, including a more stringent permitting

“I think we were very naive the first year we went to the capitol. We approached legislators who refused to listen to us. We tried to play nice and do as they wanted us to do. We essentially played the game the way they wanted it to be played.”

This game playing, according to Greg, got him absolutely nowhere with the legislation.

The second year the ISAA proposed the permitless carry legislation, Greg saw no improvement.

“We played nice again. We were told once again that we needed to come back next year. We were told that it was an election year and that big bills are generally frowned upon during an election year. It was “next year” all over again. We were beginning to understand that the process does not help the people and it isn't about the people, it’s about the power the politicians hold and their unwillingness to relinquish it.”

Greg finally realized that playing the game the politicians’ way was not going to work, ever. Politicians who tout themselves as pro-gun are not necessarily pro-Second Amendment.

The third year of proposing permitless carry, Greg chose not to play the game, and instead, simply introduced the bill on his own.

“After our print hearing, we thought we were on our way. But no sooner had we had introduced it and the Speaker of the House and the Secret Gun Committee put a stop to it. So that was that. They opposed it and so it went nowhere.”

What is the “secret gun committee”?

According to Greg Pruett, it is a secret group of politicians living in the Idaho statehouse. The group has been called “the secret gun committee” and is an unofficial committee in the Idaho legislature composed of members of the Senate and House that determine what gun bills will go forward. If the committee does not like a firearms related bill, they kill it behind closed doors: no public vote, no accountability, no public record of the committee at all. If you think this sounds illegal and contrary to the way Americans are supposed to be represented in the statehouse, you’re not alone. Greg relayed to me that the “secret gun committee” is the epitome of everything Americans hate about government: it provides political cover for those in the legislature who don't care for pro-gun measures.

In 2016, Idaho witnessed an extravaganza of chaos surrounding permitless carry unlike anything before. It would take four new and different permitless carry bills, all proposed in the same legislative session by different players, to get to one that would not impose further restrictions on gun owners, but would actually restore gun rights Idaho. The bill has passed both houses, and awaits the Governor’s signature. If the Governor signs it or does nothing before the session ends, the bill will become law and effective on July 1, 2016.

Greg Pruett Idaho Second Amendment Alliance
Greg Pruett with the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance

Greg Pruett is quick not to take credit for the permitless carry in Idaho. Instead, he points to the power of the people.

“When the people rise up, make their voices heard, and threaten these guy's jobs, they tend to listen. If they don't feel like they are going to lose an election for their stance, then they don't care. So the people are really what made all of this possible.”

If you are inspired by the ISAA, Greg has some advice for you:

“There can't be compromise. YOU have to get the people involved and you can't play the games that the legislators want you to play. They will try to demean you into submission. Then they may try to butter you up so you will compromise. You demand the best from them and expect nothing less. You have the people on your side and that is all you need. Find state organizations who have boots on the ground and a much better pulse on the gun owners of their respective states and join the fight!”

About Alexandria Kincaid:

Alexandria Kincaid is a former elected District Attorney and the founder of Alex Kincaid Law, a full-service, boutique law firm emphasizing constitutional, criminal, and asset protection (estate and business) law, and boasting the unique specialty of firearms law. Alex Kincaid is hailed the Second Amendment Guru by the American Shooting Journal. Her expertise of the gun laws is relied upon by gun owners, gun businesses, and gun rights organizations across America, and her clients also include well-known firearms and firearms accessories manufacturers. Alex is also the author of “Infringed” the ultimate gun law book, available on Amazon: http://tiny.cc/j11s8x . Or visit www.alexkincaid.com .

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    RichElder AmbassadorTexasWild Bill5WarVeteran Recent comment authors
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    Rich
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    Rich

    Marxists and Islamists who infect our federal government plus the media whores who protect them will gleefully lie, falsify, fabricate, slander, libel, deceive, delude, bribe, and treasonably betray the free citizens of the United States.. Second Amendment foes lying about gun control – Firearms are our constitutionally mandated safeguard against tyranny by a powerful federal government. Only dictators, tyrants, despots, totalitarians, and those who want to control and ultimately to enslave you support gun control. No matter what any president, senator, congressman, or hard-left mainstream media whores tell you concerning the statist utopian fantasy of safety and security through further… Read more »

    Elder Ambassador
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    Elder Ambassador

    Good article Alex, even if ammoland didn’t allow my earlier post.
    Onward and upward. Eliminate the “secret gun committee” at the ballot box and move forward to maybe removing the “presenting a firearm to avoid a lethal incident” from prosecution as “disturbing the peace” or other such. Also remove “open carry” from the same threat of reprisal from some among us.

    Elder Ambassador
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    Elder Ambassador

    Very good article Alex. We must call a Spade a Spade when it is a Spade and not a shovel. We now need to identify the members of the “secret gun committee” and remove them from the scene, by ballot box or otherwise by legal action. The Idaho Legislature, and in particular those who run as Republicans, has done the residents of Idaho wrong two years running. Last year it was the last second, Very late at night, smoke filled room (must have been that “wacky tabaky” they got from Oregon), when the “Compromise” tax reform bill died a dirty… Read more »

    Wild Bill
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    Wild Bill

    I think that disarming the public, so that members of the public can not make a meaningful defense to criminals, and then expecting crime to decrease is logic so poor that it must derive from mental illness. Why don’t WE use this against our opponents?
    Yes, a Constitutional Convention would be a disaster.

    Rich
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    Rich

    Mental health as a weapon against the people is communist in origin.. Deceptive Transformation: The Truth of Soviet Influence in America and Gun Control.. Dominate the psychiatric profession and use mental health laws as a means of gaining coercive control over those who oppose Communist goals. The idea of using mental health as a weapon against the people is communist in origin, and the social sciences, or the studying of human behavior has its roots in early twentieth century Russia when Ivan Pavlov developed his “classical conditioning” theories. In fact, Pavlov was disturbed that Vladimir Lenin would use these conditioning… Read more »

    Texas
    Guest
    Texas

    You also see this in the trend of punishing people that don’t believe in climate change.

    Rich
    Guest
    Rich

    here we go with ‘Mental Health’ Again..

    There are over 370 “mental disorders” listed in the latest version of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.) The list includes “Tobacco Addiction Disorder” among other equally mundane and ridiculous so-called “mental illnesses.”

    If the DSM is the standard by which Obama wishes to remove our rights to own guns, then I’d guess 90% of the American people could probably be classified with a mental disorder of one kind or another.

    BEWARE, BEWARE

    5WarVeteran
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    5WarVeteran

    You do realize this is planting fear in Federal politicians? You know the ones who are committing the most crime… PARASITES

    Herb
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    Herb

    Good write up and excellent definition of the do-nothing politicians that have finally gotten many, many voters really “POed” because politicians first response seems to always be, “What’s in it for me?” Isn’t it a shame that politicians can’t be expected to do the job they were hired for!