BOISE | Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter signed a bill Friday removing the requirement for a concealed carry permit within city limits, although he expressed worries about doing away with the training requirements that come with a permit.
As of July 1, Idaho residents 21 and older won't need a permit to carry a concealed handgun within a city. Permitless carry was already the law outside city limits and for open carry.
Otter wrote in a letter accompanying his signing of the bill that anyone considering concealed carry should take some training first, and that lawmakers should monitor the law's exercise "and respond appropriately when and if the lack of a statutory education and training requirement undermines public safety."
Otter said at his end-of-session news conference Monday that he has no problem with the idea of the state requiring training, noting that teenagers need training and a license before being allowed to drive and that for him such a requirement falls under the "well regulated" part of the Second Amendment's reference to a "well regulated militia."
"Where we recognize these potential problems, you say you've got to have some training," he said. "I would have liked to see a training element to that."
An enhanced Idaho concealed carry permit requires a class that instructs you on the law and shooting skills and includes supervised practice at a range, while a normal permit requires some less intensive sort of training, such as a gun safety or hunter safety class or military service. Permits will still be available to people who want the training or want them for reciprocity with other states.
The Idaho Second Amendment Alliance, which had been lobbying for permitless carry and introduced legislation last year similar to the one that passed this year, put out a news release over the weekend praising Otter for signing the bill.
“Senate Bill 1389 is common sense gun legislation,” ISAA Executive Director Greg Pruett said. “Permitless carry has been legal outside city limits for many years in Idaho. SB 1389 simply allows law-abiding gun owners to put on a jacket without breaking the law when they are carrying inside city limits.”
The Idaho chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a pro-gun control group that had been lobbying against the bill, criticized Otter.
"Today Idaho joined a very short list of states that have abandoned this core public safety measure," said Hannah Sharp, one of the group's volunteers. "Moms will continue to support safer gun laws and fight against dangerous ones because the lives of our children depend on it.”
Law enforcement opinions on the bill have been mixed; while the Idaho Sheriffs’ Association and Fraternal Order of Police endorsed it, several Treasure Valley police chiefs have publicly come out against it.
What polling has been done showed a majority of Idahoans in favor of keeping permitting requirements — 62 percent of respondents to an Idaho Politics Weekly poll done in March 2015 favored keeping the current permitting system. Moms Demand Action did a poll last year showing 81 percent support for keeping permitting, although some permitless carry supporters have questioned the wording of that poll.