Let’s keep Idaho cities from banning our firearms.
In 2019 I learned that the Festival at Sandpoint was banning firearm carry at their concert series held in a public park in Sandpoint. But, in Idaho we have what are known as firearm preemption laws that should prevent that from happening.
The basic concept of a preemption law is that we the people are the original sovereigns. Then in the constitution of Idaho we granted to the state the right to represent our sovereignty in the state legislature and in the executive branch.
Therefore, the state of Idaho has some measure of our sovereignty. Cities, in contrast, do not. Cities in Idaho are not formed in the Idaho constitution. Rather, they are merely municipal corporations created by the Idaho legislature in Idaho Code. In other words, the concept of cities and local governments are creations of the Idaho legislature.
It is therefore reasonable when the state legislature retains exclusively to itself the authority to make laws over certain subjects. Known as preemption, the Idaho legislature has done this in relation to firearms.
The legislature has declared in Idaho Code, which are the statutes of the state of Idaho, that the legislature retains all authority over firearms in law. Those statutes clearly state that cities and counties may not regulate firearms whatsoever (except their discharge in city limits).
What this does is make sure that firearm laws are uniform throughout the state so that we all know what to expect regardless of which city or county we are in. It also ensures that leftist local governments do not restrict your right to carry.
Except there is a loophole.
The city of Sandpoint discovered that by “leasing” public property, they could have the private “leaseholder” claim a private property right and thereby restrict the citizens’ right to carry. A local district judge affirmed this scheme when we sued the Festival and the City of Sandpoint for their Festival firearm ban.
Based on the judge’s opinion, cities now have the judicial cover to allow farmers markets to ban guns in downtown Sandpoint. Rodeos and other special events could do the same thing at other city owned or county owned property. The city or county can simply grant a permit or contract for an event, claim it is a “lease”, and thereby claim that the public ground has now become private property.
Well, after we lost our suit at the district court level in Kootenai County courts, me and Jeff Avery and the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance and the Second Amendment Foundation appealed to the Idaho Supreme Court. Knowing the glacial pace of the courts, a resolution of our case is probably years away.
So, we have another solution.
Last week I had the opportunity to participate in drafting legislation that would clarify Idaho firearms preemption law as it pertains to these events, permits and short-term contracts.
Representative Priscilla Giddings is the bill sponsor of the new House Bill 676, which was just printed yesterday in the Idaho House. The bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary and Rules committee for a hearing. Please pray for its success as our sponsors guide it through the legislative process.