Senate panel votes to continue concealed weapon privilege for elected officials

dpopkey@idahostatesman.comMarch 10, 2014 

The Senate State Affairs Committee voted Monday to kill House Bill 514, which would have ended the privilege enjoyed by elected officials to carry concealed weapons without a permit.

The measure was prompted by last year's news that Rep. Mark Patterson, R-Boise, was able to continue carrying a concealed weapon despite his permit being revoked by Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney after Raney learned Patterson had failed to disclose a 1974 guilty plea to assault with intent to commit rape. Under pressure from GOP leaders, Patterson resigned last month.

House Bill 514 passed the House 62-7, but the State Affairs Committee voted to hold the measure.

"We do not need to relinquish our privileges," said Senate Majority Caucus Chairman Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian.

Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, argued that lawmakers should have to comply with the same training and background check requirements as ordinary citizens. Davis cited the example of a victim of domestic violence having to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

"Why in the world would we want to say our periodic life-threatening life experiences are more threatening than that woman's daily experience?" Davis asked.

An estimated 3,000 elected officials are exempt from the permit requirement.

Sen. Jeff Siddoway, R-Terreton, said he'd like to see the bill return in 2015 with changes that he said would improve the bill.

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