Dear Friend of Bonneville County,
We would like to invite you to the annual Bonneville County Lincoln Day Banquet on March 31. We are thrilled to announce that this year’s speaker will be Judge Jeanine Pirro from FOX News! Senator Russ Fulcher, Lieutenant Governor Brad Little and Tommy Ahlquist have also been invited to speak. As always, a wonderful dinner will be served along with a silent auction and our big SHOTGUN GIVEAWAY! Those present will be given a free ticket for the drawing.
Come join Judge Pirro, invited gubernatorial candidates, party leaders and fellow Republicans from across the state for an exciting evening of celebration. Please see the attached mailer and special personal invitation from the Judge!
February 16, 2017
By Rep. Karey Hanks
My ‘Non-Residency Bill,’ which would let non-residents carry a concealed handgun in city limits, can’t get a hearing, writes Rep. Karey Hanks.
Beginning the first week of the 2017 Legislative session, I have attempted to get a hearing on R.S. 24941, which has been dubbed the “non-residency bill.”
By removing four words from our current permitless constitutional carry law, it would enable non-residents to carry a concealed handgun within city limits in Idaho.
Presently, any law-abiding citizen over 21 years old may carry a rifle or shotgun anywhere in Idaho concealed, without a permit. Non-residents can also carry their handguns anywhere outside of city limits with no permit.
The senseless part is that non-residents, including military families, are prohibited from carrying concealed handguns in city limits. Additionally, our state does not have a clear definition of “a resident,” so this is a confusing law to enforce.
Eleven states now have constitutional carry. Only two (Idaho and Wyoming) require residency. Residency has not been an issue in other states (Maine, Vermont and West Virginia, for example).
House State Affairs Chairman Tom Loertscher has expressed concern about reciprocity with other states honoring our enhanced permits. I have overcome each hurdle he has used to stall this hearing. I have asked him why the U.S. Constitution stops at our border. He continues to believe allowing this change “does nothing for Idaho residents.”
Why does he have the power to dictate policy of our state?
I received an opinion from the Attorney General’s office which did not give credence to the chairman’s concern. I checked with an NRA authority—he asked about reciprocity with Washington.
Idaho permitless carry laws should never be based or built on Washington gun laws. This should be evident by current changes being sought by Washington’s AG to significantly tighten their gun laws, including a ban on “assault weapons,” which further infringes on citizen’s rights. Are we really trying to appease the state of Washington on this issue? Do we prevent the spread of freedom in hopes an out-of-state anti-gun AG will not remove our reciprocity, which no one has provided any proof is in jeopardy?
The legislative process works when committees are allowed to hear, debate and vote on bills. Chairman Loertscher should trust his committee, elected by citizens of Idaho, to do what is best for Idaho. This RS/bill should get a hearing and allow our legislators to decide the merits of this bill.
Rep. Karey Hanks, R-St. Anthony, represents Idaho District 35B in the state Legislature.
February 16, 2017
By Rep. Christy Zito
My ‘Castle Doctrine’ bill is written by a noted gun rights attorney, but it has hit a major roadblock, writes Rep. Christy Zito.
The Castle Doctrine is a simple but important concept. People should be able to defend themselves, their families and their property from intruders and potential attackers—using deadly force if necessary. Idaho has a Castle Doctrine, but the law is outdated and weak. This legislative session, I have a bill to improve, strengthen and update our Castle Doctrine.
Unfortunately, the bill has hit a major roadblock, House State Affairs Chairman Tom Loertscher, R-Iona. He refuses to grant a hearing and allow the committee to vote on this important bill. The chairman has falsely alleged my lack of cooperation.
I have been asking Chairman Loertscher for a hearing in the State Affairs Committee, for the Self Defense Protection Bill or “Castle Doctrine” since the beginning of the session.
The chairman expressed concerns to me about the language of the bill several times. I took notes and made proper adjustments. I even arranged for noted gun rights attorney, Alexandria Kincaid, to come to the capitol to meet Chairman Loertscher. She is the original author of the legislation, one of the foremost firearms law experts in the United States and a resident of Idaho.
We met together with Chairman Loertscher and House Judiciary and Rules Chairman Lynn Luker, R-Boise, who is an attorney himself. In this meeting Ms. Kincaid listened to their concerns and addressed each one of them. The bill was rewritten, improved and returned to Chairman Loertscher.
After further attempts to schedule a hearing, and further frivolous stalls from Chairman Loertscher, he now refuses to respond to my inquiries. I serve on the State Affairs Committee and see Chairman Loertscher every morning, but he is entrenched and will not budge.
There are 15 current co-sponsors of this bill. I have made it very clear I am here to work for the people and to work with leadership to accomplish the mandate of the citizens who elected us to do their will. This is a responsibility that I and the 15 strong cosponsors of this bill do not take lightly. I have done everything asked of me by the chairman to bring this bill to a full hearing before the committee.
Committees are assembled to consider legislation. They work best when there is open debate and fair discussion on the issues. If there really are problems with a bill, the committee will be instructive and helpful. Committees should have every opportunity to consider bills and then vote. One chairman who takes matters into his own hands, destroys the representative government we have.
The people of Idaho need a new Castle Doctrine and I am working to make it happen. The State Affairs committee members have been elected and trusted by their fellow citizens to consider bills and to represent their interests. The committee has representatives from all across Idaho. They and all Idahoans deserve a voice in the legislative process—otherwise this “committee” becomes a mini-dictatorship.
Idahoans who value their gun rights should contact Chairman Loertscher and the House State Affairs Committee to let them know the bill should be heard.
After suffering the wrath of two of my freshman colleagues for not scheduling a hearing on their legislation yet, I have a confession to make. As a committee chairman I have the obligation of reading proposed legislation, even before the first hearing.
That is not just so that I can say I have read it. I try to determine from the words on the pages what the sponsor is trying to accomplish and if the words actually do what they intend. I do this on proposals that are brought to the House State Affairs Committee for introduction and throughout the time it is before the committee. I do this, as do most chairmen, to try to avoid wasting the time of the Legislature and to try to help the bill sponsors. If I see problems, I discuss these things with the sponsors and others to see if I have missed something. I have extended the same courtesy to Representatives Karey Hanks, R-St. Anthony, and Christy Zito, R-Hammett. They have made several changes to their own bills.
Rep. Hanks has dubbed her gun bill the “non-residency bill.” Her bill would allow non-residents to carry concealed weapons without a permit while they are in Idaho. While it is somewhat unusual for Idaho’s elected officials to be working for people who don’t live in Idaho, the better question is, why would Rep. Hanks be so infatuated with passing a bill that might place resident concealed weapons permit holders in jeopardy of their license being unrecognized in other states? One of the remaining questions is, will the Hanks bill invalidate Idaho concealed weapons permits in states with which we have reciprocal agreements? I continue to be told by those who have extensive backgrounds on these matters, that the Hanks bill is likely to affect reciprocity with some states.
The Zito “castle doctrine” proposal is more problematic. It is clear that Idaho already has a good and court tested castle doctrine law, even though it is not called such. It is a matter of record that Idaho has not had a record of wrongfully prosecuting people for protecting themselves even to the point of using deadly force in Idaho. Rep. Zito’s first draft contained several infirmities. The second draft was not much improved. The third draft removes a clarifying section of code that, if removed, would be harmful. There is a known question in Idaho’s gun law, and it is not established yet if the Zito bill properly addresses the question of whether the immunity in the law for justifiable killing extends to a person who uses deadly force to protect themselves or their property, but does not kill the intruder.
The bottom line is that this is a complex area of law, and if our current law is good and tested but if a change is needed, we have to make sure the change makes the law better.Unfortunately the legislative sponsors of these two bills believe they can badger their way through the legislative process. I have suggested that the sponsors be inclusive and work with others who have helped craft Idaho’s already good gun laws. As of this writing they have refused to do so. I am not entrenched on this matter and have been willing to a fault to listen. However, in my world, that should be a two way street, not colored by personal attacks.
I think most of our citizens would agree that when we are making gun laws, we must do better than ready, shoot, aim.
Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, represents Idaho District 32B in the state Legislature. He is chairman of the state affairs committee and serves on the local government committee.
Coming to the Idaho State Legislature to represent the people of District 23 and the people of the state has been an honor. I have had opportunity to learn so much. One of the opportunities that I cherish the most was being asked by citizens from all over the state to carry the Castle Doctrine upgrade.
This issue is very personal to me. I have had to use a firearm to protect my daughter. This is a decision that is not taken lightly. In a matter of seconds a decision is made that will forever impact your life. If you do not use force against force how do you explain to that child why their parent, the one who has the God given responsibility to keep them safe, was not able to do so. How does one look herself in the mirror and know that she was not able to keep that child safe from a horrific experience that will change their life forever, or even end that precious life.
The legislation that we are proposing is written by Alexandria Kincaid, one of the foremost 2ndamendment lawyers in the United States. Alexandria is a former prosecuting attorney, elected district attorney; she has tried hundreds of cases involving guns, is an expert marksman, and has hunted all over the world.
The doctrine proposed would codify existing jury instructions for the State of Idaho. Current statute requires homeowners to prove that they were in fear of losing their life, or in fear of bodily harm. The new legislation would shift the burden of proof from the homeowner to the perpetrator, the invader of your home, business, vehicle, or any dwelling including a tent, cabin or any structure to which you have a legal right to be, even as a guest.
The legislation provides for criminal immunity should the State attempt to punish you for defending your life, and would require the State to reimburse legal expenses to you should you be found not guilty. There is also a provision for civil immunity that would prevent the family of the perpetrator from suing you for acting in self-defense. It is horrific enough to know that you had to pull the trigger, without having to endure an investigation that assumes that you were wrong in making that split-second decision to defend those most precious to you.
We have been in session for almost eight weeks. Work has been done to move the bill to a print hearing every single day. The draft of this legislation was prepared prior to the beginning of the session. Before the first week was over we had an RS of the bill. ChairmanLoertscher of State Affairs thumbed through the RS and immediately told me it had language problems. I returned several times that week to find out what the problems were. There was never a clear answer. I invited Alexandria to come to the capital to discuss these issues with the chairman. She addressed all his concerns and a new draft was prepared and a new RS written. She also prepared a 37 page clarifying explanation so the Chairman could understand the RS.
Again, returning the RS to the Chairman, his only comments were “language” problems. In the meantime, the bill was shared with other legislators. The concerns were addressed. To date 18 brave patriot legislators have cosponsored the legislation. One more draft was prepared addressing clerical issues and some wording. The bill was hand carried to the Chairman, and was denied a print hearing again.
Tuesday, I spoke with the chairman and was informed that others were working on a castle doctrine bill and that I should work with them. I am more than willing to work with others. I believe that the work of Alexandria is valuable to the discussion as she has the necessary experience to understand the legality of gun legislation more than most. When I asked, who was working on another version of castle doctrine legislation, I was told by Chairman Loertscher that he would have them contact me. I have heard nothing.
Before coming to the legislature, I had heard stories of “secret committees”, clandestine meetings, elite groups who control the destiny of those outside the marble halls of the capital. I chose not to believe it. Sadly, the proof is to the contrary. The good old boys and/or girls club is alive and well. The game is more important than representing the voice of those outside the walls of the “People’s House”. Am I discouraged? Somewhat. Will I give up? No, absolutely not. I have been entrusted to represent others’ voices in a process I consider sacred that has endured for over 200 years. I believe the Constitution and our form of government was ordained by our Creator. Other that being a mother, I can think of no more sacred assignment.
Call, email or message, I do my best to answer all that are received.
God bless each of us, our Nation, and our State.
Representative Christy Zito District 23