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Successful 2009 Legislative Session Comes to a Close in Idaho

Friday, May 15, 2009

As the 2009 legislative session came to a close, Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter (R) signed the following pro-gun bills into law:

House Bill 229, sponsored by State Representative Pete Nielsen (R-22B), expands upon current “Emergency Powers” law to prohibit additional restrictions on the possession, transfer, sale, transport, storage, display, or use of firearms or ammunition during a state of emergency.  It was signed into law on April 23.

Senate Bill 1145, sponsored by State Senator Mike Jorgenson (R-3), ensures that records of Right-to-Carry permits issued to retired law enforcement officers are kept confidential.  It was signed into law on April 22. 

House Bill 287, the “Employer Liability Act,” sponsored by State Representative Jeff Thompson (R-33A), removes 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.  HB 287 was signed into law on May 1. 

House Bill 137 allows state parks the ability to regulate the discharge of firearms 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 unlawful discharge in populated areas. HB 137 also includes a subsection that enables concealed carry in state parks.  It was signed into law on March 25.

House Bill 65A, sponsored by State Representative Joe Palmer (R-20A), enables law-abiding Idahoans to purchase firearms in non-contiguous states.  It also permits non-residents to purchase long guns in Idaho.  HB 65A affects only rifles and shotguns, as federal law prohibits interstate handgun sales.   HB 65A was signed into law on April 8.

House Bill 194A, the “Idaho Sport Shooting Immunities Act (IDSSIA),” sponsored by State Representative Marc Gibbs (R-31), protects existing shooting ranges and increases opportunities for recreational shooters and hunters to practice on safe, monitored ranges.  Many shooting ranges require range safety officers (RSO) to operate, and most range officers are volunteers.  There is currently a shortage of RSOs in Idaho because people who would otherwise volunteer are concerned about lawsuits.  This bill will provide potential volunteers protection from frivolous lawsuits, and help ranges operate without fear of being sued.  HB 194A also protects government entities involved in creating and operating shooting ranges, which will encourage them to open more ranges.  Limiting the liability of shooting range operators, firearm instructors, and those involved in conducting matches and training events, will help protect existing ranges from closure and protect those involved with running ranges from frivolous lawsuits.  HB 194A ensures that a RSO will not be subjected to a frivolous suit while volunteering his valuable time.  It was signed into law on April 22.

Senate Bill 1141A, sponsored by State Senator Jeff Siddoway (R-35), is the final proposal of the Fish and Game fee increases.  The Department of Fish and Game wanted a 15-200% increase in fees, depending on the tag.  This would have been a drastic increase, far above the average increase, which currently is approximately 5-7%.  SB 1141A created a minimal increase in fees for both in-state and out-of-state individuals and was signed into law on April 22.

Senate Bill 1112, which allows an individual to possess a firearm on the premises of a daycare facility, if he or she are otherwise authorized to do so, was signed into law on May 6.

This session, the NRA was able to block one very blatant attack on our Second Amendment rights.  Senate Bill 1024, sponsored by State Senator Les Bock (D-16), attempted to override preemption, to allow cities to create their own concealed carry laws.  SB 1024 was not heard this session, thanks to opposition by NRA members and pro-gun members of the legislature.

Lastly, the Idaho State Legislature adopted House Joint Memorial 3, sponsored by State Representative Marv Hagedorn (R-20B), and sent it to the Secretary of State.  HJM3 recommends that the U.S. Congress not pass any anti-gun bills.  Similar House Joint Memorials have been passed in other states, reminding Congress to not attempt to diminish Second Amendment rights.

Thank you, to all NRA members who voiced support for the numerous pro-gun bills during this successful legislative session. 

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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.