Our View: Idaho elected officials’ gun rules should mirror public’s

February 9, 2014 

We are pleased that Rep. Rick Youngblood, R-Nampa, has introduced a bill in the Legislature to close a loophole that allowed then- Rep. Mark Patterson, who resigned last month, to continue to carry a concealed weapon even though his right had been revoked for falsifying information on his permit application.

Anybody else whose permit had been revoked would not be allowed to carry. But Patterson could by virtue of the fact that he was among the 3,000 Idaho elected officials with authority to carry a conceal weapon without a permit.

Whereas such a perk might be considered a privilege for elected officials, we think it is a double standard.

Patterson faced intense scrutiny after it was revealed in an Idaho Statesman story in November 2013 that during the 1970s, he twice had been charged with rape, and had pleaded guilty to assault with intent to commit rape related to one of those charges (in Florida in 1974).

This information came to light as a result of action by Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney to revoke Patterson’s concealed-carry permit earlier in 2013. On applications before Patterson was elected in 2012, the Boise businessman failed to acknowledge a withheld judgment on one of the rape charges. Even with his record known, Patterson was technically allowed to carry until his resignation on Jan. 5.

We are never going to warm to a process that favors elected officials over the people who put them there. We have no issue with law-abiding citizens, legislators or any other elected officials having concealed weapons. That privilege is not being questioned.

Though Youngblood’s bill is likely to face some pushback, it won’t be coming from House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, or Rep. Patrick McDonald, R-Boise, who was appointed to serve out the term in the seat formerly occupied by Patterson. McDonald, who has a law enforcement background, told The Associated Press that he thinks Youngblood’s bill is a good idea: “It seems to me it discriminates if they say elected officials don’t need a permit, but citizens do.”

Two legislators quoted in the same AP story disagree, including Rep. Lenore Barrett, a Republican from Challis who, interestingly, was ticketed in the Boise Airport in 2001 when she attempted to bring a handgun through security in her purse. She said she had forgotten about the weapon and dozens of rounds of ammunition.

She reportedly doesn’t like the prospect of being fingerprinted in order to obtain a permit, if it comes to that. That certainly could happen if current elected officials are asked to go through the regular process.

So, what’s the problem?

We think it is time for a level playing field and equal scrutiny. We’d like to believe all of Idaho’s elected officials would own up to any revocable circumstances, but the facts regarding a few have proved otherwise.

It is fairly easy to obtain a concealed-carry permit for qualified people in Idaho. We will all rest easier knowing our elected officials must follow the same procedures we do.

“Our View” is the editorial position of the Idaho Statesman. It is an unsigned opinion expressing the consensus of the Statesman’s editorial board. To comment on an editorial or suggest a topic, email editorial@idahostatesman.com.

Idaho Statesman is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service