BOISE • Idaho lawmakers on Monday resurrected last year’s previously killed bill that would penalize state law enforcement officers if they enforced federal laws pertaining to seizing or restricting guns or ammunition allowed under the Idaho Constitution.
Last year’s version – introduced by state Rep. Mark Patterson, R-Boise — died in the Senate after it passed the House.
The new bill would slap a $1,000 fine on Idaho officers who enforce “any executive order, agency order, law, rule or regulation of the United States government” if it went against the Idaho Constitution regarding confiscating, collecting or restricting firearms and ammunition. A second offense would result in a misdemeanor penalty, which would damage an officer’s job certification.
State Sen. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, said the law is designed to protect state officers.
“We want to clarify what they legally can do,” Hagedorn said, while introducing the law to the Senate State Affairs Committee. The bill also is being sponsored by Sen. Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens.
Almost a year ago, sheriffs around the country were taking hard-line stances after President Barack Obama announced his plan to reduce gun violence. Many, including sheriffs in Kootenai and Bonners Ferry counties, said they would refuse to enforce laws that came from the plan.
The action also spurred the creation of the gun rights group Idaho Constitutional Sheriffs. The group keeps a list of Idaho sheriffs deemed “constitutional” or “needs to be replaced.” Most recently, group members participated in a rally on the Idaho Capitol steps advocating Second Amendment rights.
“So the issue here is the concern that the federal government will somehow pass a law or executive order that simply requires the confiscation of guns, period?” asked state Sen. Elliot Werk, D-Boise.
“In a nutshell, yes,” Hagedorn said.”
Werk then asked if Hagedorn had seen any indication that such a threat was imminent in the next decade.
“No, I have not,” Hagedorn said.
The bill passed unanimously in committee, clearing the way for a possible full hearing.