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An open letter to the citizens of the Magic Valley:

Some of us are hearing from constituents with concerns that Idaho may attempt to weaken our gun laws. Let us set the record straight. Idaho is one of the most gun-owner-friendly states in the U.S. due to our steady diligent work to strengthen our right to keep and bear arms. In fact, with last session's passage of S.1313 — Stand Your Ground — one of the premier firearms magazines Guns and Ammo moved Idaho's gun-friendly status to No. 2 in the nation.

Unfortunately, some states are moving in the other direction. This frightens Americans who understand our founding fathers' reasoning in protecting citizens' firearm rights in the 2nd Amendment to our U.S. Constitution: "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. "

In recent years, the U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted the 2nd Amendment to mean that individual citizens have the right to keep and bear arms. The Idaho Constitution is even more direct. Stated in our Declaration of Rights Article 1, Section 11, right to Keep and Bear Arms: "The people have the right to keep and bear arms, which right shall not be abridged; but this provision shall not prevent the passage of laws to govern the carrying of weapons concealed on the person nor prevent passage of legislation providing minimum sentences for crimes committed while in possession of a firearm, nor prevent the passage of legislation providing penalties for the possession of firearms by a convicted felon, nor prevent the passage of any legislation punishing the use of a firearm. No law shall impose licensure, registration or special taxation on the ownership or possession of firearms or ammunition. Nor shall any law permit the confiscation of firearms, except those actually used in the commission of a felony."

In recent years, the Idaho Legislature has passed at least 30 laws to protect and strengthen Idahoans' firearm right. The vast majority of these laws were passed between 2008 and 2018, and the National Rifle Association assisted with the passage of all of them. A comprehensive list of these laws can be found online at bit.ly/2S8974H.

Can the Legislature do more to protect firearms rights for law-abiding citizens? Yes, always, but unnecessarily frightening citizens or alleging that Idaho's gun laws are substandard is not constructive. Correctly educating Idahoans is very helpful. Just like legislation on any other topic, we always welcome straightforward well-written proposals. The real threat comes from those who are well-meaning but who believe access to firearms for U.S. citizens should be restricted. We believe those attempts are inconsistent with both the U.S. and Idaho constitutions.

Rep. Scott Bedke, Speaker of the House, District 27

Rep. Fred Wood, District 27

Sen. Kelly Anthon, District 27

Sen. Bert Brackett, District 23

Rep. Christy Zito, District 23

Rep. Megan Blanksma, District 23

Sen. Lee Heider, District 24

Rep. Lance Clow, District 24

Rep. Linda Hartgen, District 24

Sen. Jim Patrick, District 25

Rep. Laurie Lickley, District 25

Rep. Clark Kauffman, District 25

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Rep. Scott Bedke is Speaker of the House in the Idaho Legislature.

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