You could write a book about what state Rep. Mark Patterson, R-Boise, doesn't know about law enforcement. Patterson has written a bill instead.
Best known for a botched campaign biography that placed him at the University of Southern California when he wasn't there, Patterson now leads a battalion of House Republicans who are lining up behind the Idaho gun rights issue du jour.
They would make criminals of any Idaho cop who "knowingly and willingly participated in an action with the purpose of confiscating firearms defined as legal."
The offense in question would be a misdemeanor. It carries jail time and a $1,000 fine.
This being Idaho, the measure easily cleared its first hurdle - formal introduction in the House State Affairs Committee. Next comes a committee public hearing. To support such a concept, Patterson is either inherently or deliberately obtuse. How else to explain a potential law that runs afoul of the following:
- Nothing President Barack Obama has implemented through executive orders or proposed in law even remotely envisions confiscating guns from their lawful owners.
- Even if Obama attempted such a feat, he'd run up against not only a Republican House, but a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that recognizes the Second Amendment gives individuals the right to own and possess firearms.
- Federal law trumps state and local law. No amount of chest-beating on the floor of the Idaho House changes the Supremacy Clause of the U.S Constitution or the outcome of the American Civil War. In any event, the people who sort out these issues are called judges.
- Patterson's bill supposedly addresses only the gun confiscation issue. Supporters maintain it "would clearly not affect an Idaho law enforcement officer who assists federal agents on drug/gang or similarly related enforcement activities." But to bar Idaho cops from helping their brother officers at the federal level on one matter is a slippery slope that inevitably leads elsewhere. What's next? Bank robbery is a federal crime. So is kidnapping. Are those to be left exclusively to federal agents?
- A relatively small group of Idaho officers - 44 county sheriffs, about 75 chiefs of police and a state police unit - have forged a cordial, cooperative relationship with the five federal agencies: Secret Service, the FBI, Drug Enforcement Agency, Homeland Security and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Doing so is a practical necessity for a small number of cops covering a big territory with a sparse population.
Patterson and his 22 co-sponsors seem to be oblivious to all of these questions. Why? Odds are they were too busy pandering to the anti-Obama hysteria roiling Idaho that they didn't bother to ask not only about the bill's impact but also its constitutionality.
THERE IS NO THIRD OPTION ON EXCHANGES
(TWIN FALLS) TIMES-NEWS
There's a movement afoot in Idaho - even among legislators who should know better - to protest the federally mandated health exchange.
These people aren't happy that a health exchange has been mandated and they don't want Idaho to participate. Somehow, they have convinced themselves that is an option.
There are two options: Set up a state-run exchange or let the federal government do it for you. Period. The time for protest is behind us and it's time to stop pretending another tantrum will change the course of history.
Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, said it best on Thursday during the six-hour health exchange debate on the Senate floor. Cameron openly opposes Obama's health care overhaul, but he reminded fellow lawmakers that this is Obama's signature. It is Obama's legacy. If Idaho thinks it can ignore a mandate and go unnoticed, he said, that's not going to happen.
Instead, the federal government will put itself in charge of our health insurance exchange and we will lose our voice.