State Politics

Idaho lawmakers want to ease conceal carry, deadly weapons laws

Idaho lawmakers are considering three bills pertaining to deadly weapons during the 2019 legislative session.

Here’s a breakdown of each:

Guns in Idaho public schools

Under Idaho law it is illegal to carry a concealed deadly weapon in courthouses, jails, juvenile detention centers or public schools.

A bill sponsored by Rep. Chad Christensen, R-Ammon, would allow anyone with a valid enhanced carry conceal weapons permit to carry a concealed firearm on public school grounds.

Under the proposal, the individual must have “immediate control” of the firearm at all times. The individual does not need permission from school administrators or school board to conceal carry and does not have to disclose to anyone he or she is conceal carrying a weapon “except to an Idaho peace officer who is conducting an investigation when such information is reasonably related to the investigation.” Additionally, no school employee can be “subjugated to disciplinary action, retaliation, or adverse work conditions for having possession of a firearm.”

This legislation does not apply to private schools. Under Idaho law, private property owners have the right to choose whether to allow firearms on their property.

Enhanced carry conceal weapons permits are only available to people age 21 years or older and require a one-day training course.

HB 203 is awaiting a House State Affairs Committee hearing.

Knives as a deadly weapon

Under Idaho law, any knife with a blade longer than four inches is considered a deadly weapon. In 2013, lawmakers changed the concealed weapon law, so it no longer applies to knives with blades 4 inches or less.

A bill sponsored by Rep. Bryan Zollinger, R-Idaho Falls, proposes changing the definition from 4 inches to 6 inches, meaning any knife with a blade 6 inches or shorter would not be considered a deadly weapon.

HB 199 is awaiting a House State Affairs Committee hearing.

Handguns in Idaho cities

Under Idaho law, anyone under the age of 21 cannot conceal carry a handgun within city limits.

This bill, sponsored by Rep. Christy Zito, R-Hammett, lowers the age limit for concealed carrying of a handgun within city limits to 18.

HB 206 is awaiting a House State Affairs Committee hearing.

Idaho Statesman investigative reporter Cynthia Sewell was named Idaho Press Club reporter of the year in 2017 and 2008. A University of Oregon graduate, she joined the Statesman in 2005. Her family has lived in Idaho since the mid-1800s.