Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence to possess, own or purchase a firearm.
But Idaho law enforcement officers cannot enforce federal law. And Idaho has no similar prohibition. So, when Idaho officers come across someone who possesses a gun but shouldn’t under the federal law, they can do nothing.
Rep. Melissa Wintrow, D-Boise, wants to fix this by enacting a state law that mirrors federal law.
“This bill would be a parallel state law so that my state cops can do something about it,” Idaho Sheriffs’ Association attorney Michael Kane told the House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee Thursday evening. “There is no similar state law. This gives state officers the ability to act when they see a state crime and they can enforce it, and that state crime would be having a firearm.”
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Rep. Karey Hanks, R-St. Anthony, asked Kane: “So, we have no laws on the books to keep somebody convicted of domestic violence from having a gun? That is what you are telling me?”
“There is no Idaho law that does that,” Kane replied. “That is why we are presenting this bill. That is exactly what I am telling you.”
The committee voted to send Wintrow’s bill to the House floor with a recommendation that it pass there.