Rep. Karey Hanks: Constituiton Doesn’t Stop at Border

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.

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