BOISE, Idaho (July 1, 2020) – Today, a new law went into effect that expands Idaho’s “constitutional carry” law, and allows any U.S. citizen over 18 who can legally own a gun to carry concealed in city limits without a permit.

The House State Affairs Committee introduced House Bill 516 (H516) back in February. Under the new law, any U.S. citizen can now carry a concealed firearm without a permit within city limits in Idaho. Under the former law, people over 18 could carry a concealed weapon without a permit in most places in Idaho, but only Idaho residents could do so within city limits.

In February, the House passed H516 by a vote of 56-14. On March 18, the Senate concurred with a vote of 27-5. With Little’s signature, the law went into effect on July 1.

Since passing a law allowing permitless concealed carry outside of city limits in 2015, the Idaho legislature has loosened restrictions several times. In 2016, it got rid of the requirement that Idaho residents must have a permit to carry concealed within city limits. In 2019, the age for concealed carry in city limits was reduced from 21 to 18.

Passage of H516 underscores an important strategic reality. Once a state removes restrictions on firearms – even if only in a very limited way – it tends to eventually expand. As the state tears down some barriers, markets develop and demand expands. That creates pressure to further relax state law.

EFFECT ON FEDERAL GUN CONTROL

While permitless carry bills do not directly affect federal gun control, the widespread passage of permitless conceal carry laws in states subtly undermines federal efforts to regulate guns. As we’ve seen with marijuana and industrial hemp, a federal regulation becomes ineffective when states ignore it and pass laws encouraging the prohibited activity anyway.

The federal government lacks the enforcement power necessary to maintain its ban, and people will willingly take on the small risk of federal sanctions if they know the state will not interfere. This increases when the state actively encourages “the market.”

Less restrictive state gun laws will likely have a similar impact on federal gun laws. It will make it that much more difficult for the feds to enforce any future federal gun control, and increase the likelihood that states with few limits will simply refuse to cooperate with federal enforcement efforts.

State actions such as passing H516 lower barriers for those wanting to the option of defending themselves with firearms and encourages a “gun-friendly” environment that would make federal efforts to limit firearms that much more difficult.


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