A history of gun legislation in Idaho

Mallory Barker
Ryan Thorne

Gov. Butch Otter recently signed Senate Bill 1254 into law, allowing Idaho citizens with concealed weapons permits to carry concealed firearms on Idaho college campuses.

The bill drew flocks of critics and demonstrators to the capitol building as well as universal scorn from Boise Police chief Mike Masterson and Idaho’s university presidents.

This isn’t the first time law enforcement and legislators have clashed over guns laws in Idaho.

Back in 1990 when concealed gun laws were drastically rewritten, Idaho sheriffs universally opposed legislation that took away their right to subjectively hand out concealed permits.

“I am opposed to the major change in the concealed weapon,” then Ada County Sheriff Vaughn Killeen wrote to legislators.

Vaughn claimed changing Idaho’s concealed weapons law would allow “known dope dealers who have never been arrested and other types of known criminals who law enforcement has unfortunately been able to arrest or convict for various reasons.”

Here’s a look at the history of concealed weapons laws in the Gem State.

1909- First mention of concealed weapons in Idaho laws barring them from areas like cities, mines and logging sites. (Unless you could prove your life, family or property were threatened)

1917- Personal defense clause allowing concealed weapons dropped. Concealed weapon permits are created and distributed solely at the discretion of Idaho’s individual county sheriffs.

1990- Concealed gun law scrapped and completely rewritten to guarantee those who legally qualify to own guns can also obtain concealed permits through application process. Idaho sheriffs unanimously opposed legislation saying complete authority to distribute permits should remain in their hands.

1991- Exemptions for concealed weapon law added to include:

-Elected Officials

-Retired police with 10 years of service

-Hunters in designated sporting areas

1994- Fingerprint background checks using state and national databases added to list of requirements to obtain concealed carry permit.

1995- Concealed carry permit restrictions added for those with with restraining and protection orders levied against them.

1996- Amendment added allowing those with valid concealed permits to skip background checks when legally purchasing firearms.

2005- Idaho attorney general creates reciprocal agreement to ensure Idaho concealed weapons law recognized by other participating states. (Currently 40 states recognize Idaho concealed law, Oregon and California fall among those that don’t)

2006- Concealed carry exemption extended to include detention deputies with 10 years of service.

2013- Enhanced concealed permit created to allow recognition of Idaho’s concealed law among most other states. Sheriff also required to release results of background checks to concealed carry applicants.

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