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Idaho: Several Bills signed by the Governor as Several more Await His Consideration!

Friday, April 24, 2009

2009 has been an outstanding legislative session for the gun owners and NRA members in Idaho. Several pro-gun and pro-hunting pieces of legislation have passed during the 2009 session, and we were successful in stopping one very blatant attack on our Second Amendment Rights.

House Bill 229, sponsored by State Representative Pete Nielsen (R-22B), expands upon current “emergency powers” statute to prohibit additional restrictions on the lawful possession, transfer, sale, transport, storage, display or use of firearms or ammunition during a state of extreme emergency.  HB229 passed both the House and the Senate and was sent to the Governor on Friday, April 17.

House Bill 287, the “Employer Liability Act,” sponsored by State Representative Jeff Thompson (R-33A), would remove an employer’s liability for any accident related to a lawfully stored firearm, if the employer adopts a policy allowing its employees to keep firearms locked in their vehicles while parked on company property.  If the employer were to institute a policy that prohibits employees from storing lawfully owned firearms in their private vehicles while at work, the employer could still be held liable.  HB287 passed the Senate on Tuesday, April 21 with a vote of 26-8-1 and will now head to the desk of the Governor. 

Senate Bill 1145, sponsored by State Senator Mike Jorgenson (R-3), would ensure that records of Right-to-Carry permits issued to retired law enforcement are kept confidential.  On April 10, SB1145 passed the House with a vote of 57-0-13, and was sent to the Governor on Thursday, April 16.

House Joint Memorial 3, sponsored by State Representative Marv Hagedorn (R-20B), has been adopted and sent to the Secretary of State.  HJM3 recommends to the U.S. Congress that they not pass any anti-gun bills.  Similar House Joint Memorials have been passed in other states and hopefully Congress gets the message that it needs to protect our Second Amendment Rights.

The Governor has already shown that he supports your Second Amendment Rights by signing three important pro-gun and pro-hunting legislation into law. 

On Friday, March 25, House Bill 137 was signed into law by Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter (R).  HB137 will allow state parks the ability to regulate discharge outside of normal, lawful usage: (i.e. target practice in a safe area, hunting, sporting clays, or self-defense). The purpose is to help control what would be considered unlawful discharge in populated areas. HB137 also includes a subsection that permits concealed carry in state parks.

On Wednesday, April 8, the Governor signed into law House Bill 65A, sponsored by State Representative Joe Palmer (R-20A), into law.  The bill goes into effect on Wednesday, July 1.  HB65A will enable law-abiding Idahoans to purchase firearms in non-contiguous states.  It will also permit non-residents to purchase long guns in Idaho.  As the outdated law currently stands, residents of Idaho can only purchase firearms from immediately surrounding states.  With the enactment of this bill, a resident of Idaho will now be allowed to purchase a firearm in most of the 49 other states.  This bill affects only rifles and shotguns, as federal law prohibits interstate handgun sales. 

On Wednesday, April 22, the Governor also signed House Bill 194A into law.  HB194A is the “Idaho Sport Shooting Immunities Act (IDSSIA),” sponsored by State Representative Marc Gibbs (R-31).  HB194A protects existing shooting ranges and increases opportunities for recreational shooters and hunters to practice on safe and monitored ranges.  Many shooting ranges require range officers to operate  and most range officers are volunteers.  Currently, in Idaho there is a shortage of range officers because people who would volunteer are concerned about lawsuits.  This bill will provide those volunteers the protection they need from frivolous lawsuits, so they can help ranges operate without fear of being sued.  In addition, HB194A will also protect government entities involved in creating and operating shooting ranges, encouraging them to open more ranges. 

Limiting the liability of shooting range operators, firearms instructors, and those involved in running matches and other events, will help save existing ranges from being forced to close and protect those involved with running ranges from frivolous lawsuits.  HB194A ensures that a range officer will not be subjected to a frivolous suit while volunteering his valuable time. 

This session, the NRA was also able to block one very blatant attack on our Second Amendment rights.  Senate Bill 1024, sponsored by State Senator Les Bock (D-16), was an attempt to override preemption and allow cities to create their own rules regarding concealed carry.  This was a blatant attempt at gun control and the bill will not be heard this session thanks to NRA members and pro-gun members of the legislature.

It is because of your support, phone calls, emails, and most importantly, your active membership that we were able to have such a strong year.  Please, take the time to thank the Governor and your legislators for all of their work to protect your rights.

Not every legislator voted in favor of every bill.  To see how your legislator voted click on each individual bill number in order to see if your Senator and Representative supported or opposed the above bills.  If they did support your Second Amendment Rights, please call to thank them because they have earned it.  If they did not, please ask them if your Second Amendment rights are important to them.  To find contact information for both Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter (R) and your members of the Idaho State Legislature, please click here.

Thank you for all of your calls and be sure to check your e-mail and www.NRAILA.org for updates throughout the year.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.