Senate panel votes to continue concealed weapons privilege for Idaho elected officials

The Senate State Affairs Committee voted 6-2 Monday to kill House Bill 514, which would have ended the privilege enjoyed by elected officials who may carry concealed weapons without a permit.

The measure was prompted by last year’s news that Rep. Mark Patterson, R-Boise, was able 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 in January.

House Bill 514 passed the House 62-7.

“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.

Voting to hold the bill were Fulcher, Siddoway and fellow Republicans Curt McKenzie of Nampa and Patti Anne Lodge of Huston and Democrats Michelle Stennett of Ketchum and Elliot Werk of Boise. Davis was joined by Sen. Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, in voting against killing the bill for the year.

 

 

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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