Governor Little Signs Bill to Improve Constitutional Carry in Idaho

from, cropped and scaled by Dean Weingarten

U.S.A.-( On 25 March, 2020, Governor Little signed HB 516, the Idaho bill which improved Constitutional Carry in the state. It passed the Senate 27 to 5, on 18 March, with three absent and excused.

The five Senators who voted against it were: Buckner-Webb, Burgoyne, Nelson, Nye, and Ward-Engelking.

The bill passed the House 56 to 14 on the 27th of February.

The 14 representatives who voted against it were:  Anderson, Berch, Chew, Davis, Ellis, Gannon, Green, Mason, McCrostie, Necochea, Rubel, Smith, Toone, and Wintrow.

Idaho was one of three states which had a peculiar twist to their Constitutional Carry law: It only applied to residents of the state. The other two states with this provision are North Dakota and Wyoming. Idaho’s restrictions only applied inside of incorporated areas such as towns and cities, but those areas are where many people spend much of their time.

Such discrimination against non-residents would, very likely, be struck down in the courts, under the equal protection clause.  It is not completely certain. While the federal courts have ruled against applying the law differently to residents and non-residents for some things; they have allowed it for others.

HB 516 removed that discrimination and restores the right of U.S. Citizens to carry weapons, concealed or openly, as existed at the ratification of the Bill of Rights in 1791 and for a generation afterward.

Idaho’s law applies to all United States citizens and Idaho residents who are 18 years of age or older. The law appears to take effect immediately.

A robust body of academic literature has found that more people legally carrying weapons correlates with either reduced violent crime or no effect.  By careful selection of start and stop dates, and complicated statistical methods, partisan researchers can, and do, create “studies” to claim increases in crime with an increased carry of firearms.

Here is an article that gives a synopsis of what is known.

Here is a link to John Lott’s response to critiques of his academic work.

When you look carefully at the data, what you find is the effect of more concealed carry permits is relatively small.

Most of the evidence “leans” toward relatively small reductions in crime. There is a robust agreement that violent crime is not increased; there is a dogmatic opposition that there is a slight increase in some crimes, in some places, at some times.  The evidence of decreases in crimes tends to be in large, detailed studies over long periods of time. The evidence of increases in crime tends to be in very small scale studies of particular places over short time scales.

I urge those who are interested to read the actual research. All of the controversial findings use complicated statistical methods which are difficult for those who are not trained statisticians to evaluate.

There are things to watch for which are easily understood.

Does the study use a proxy to determine the level of gun ownership or carry?

Proxies are easily subject to tweaking and abuse.

Does the study measure crime at the national, state, or local level?

International measurements are very difficult due to differences in definitions and crime reporting.  National level effects are difficult due to extreme variations within states. Local effects are best when compared over long time frames.

Does the study focus only on “gun crime” or “gun violence”? Both are Orwellian phrases designed to obtain a particular result. It does not matter to a victim if they are killed with a gun or a bomb; the substitution of weapons is a major item of controversy in the debate.

Those who want a disarmed population want to see studies that show that laws restricting legal gun ownership result in less violent crime.

Those who are Second Amendment supporters want to see studies that show more legal gun ownership results in less violent crime.

There seems to be only a small effect at crime reduction with more armed people.  Surveys clearly show that crimes against armed victims are less likely to be completed and that armed victims are less likely to be harmed during the attempted commission or a crime.

Idaho has reduced the number of Constitutional Carry states who discriminate against non-residents to North Dakota and Wyoming.

Tennessee is the state most likely to restore Constitutional Carry next. The more favored bill in Tennessee, at present, restricts Constitutional Carry to state residents.

When Tennessee joins the Constitutional Carry club, there will be 17 states that have restored the law concerning carry to approximately what it was when the Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791.

About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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Green Mtn. Boy

Constitutional carry is after all the supreme law of the land.


Way to go Gov. Little and Idaho!