There are only a handful of places a person cannot carry a concealed firearm in Idaho.
The list includes places like courthouses, detention facilities, public and private schools, and airports.
And there's just a handful of reasons a person would not be allowed to carry a concealed firearm in the Gem State - such as being intoxicated, younger than 21 or having a criminal record.
Both of those lists could be much shorter come this summer, as lawmakers are considering two bills that will remove some of the few firearms restrictions in the state. The first bill would allow 18- to 20-year-olds to conceal carry a handgun without a permit in city limits, and the second would allow anyone with an enhanced concealed carry permit to bring weapons onto public school grounds.
We believe both will only place the public and school children at risk.
The first bill moved through the Idaho House State Affairs Committee without resistance earlier this week. Idaho's 2016 constitutional carry bill made it so that those 18 and older can, without a permit or training of any kind, carry conceal firearms nearly anywhere. The one exception - those 18 to 20 could not do so within city limits. The new law removes that protection.
Rep. Julianne Young, R-Blackfoot, who co-sponsored the bill, said the legislation gives "responsible citizens the ability to defend themselves" and claimed it would "lower gun violence and other deaths that we wish to prevent."
While we support the public's right to gun ownership, statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show gun-related deaths - in the form of suicides and homicides - are on the rise for the first time in a decade, and allowing still-maturing teenagers to carry concealed weapons in city limits will not make anyone safer.
The second bill, introduced Tuesday by the Idaho House of Representative's State Affairs Committee, would remove the ability of local school boards to set their own firearms policy and force public schools to allow anyone with an enhanced concealed carry permit to bring weapons onto school grounds.
It is opposed by Ben Wolfinger, Kootenai County sheriff and president of the Idaho Sheriff Association, and Craig Kingsbury, Twin Falls' police chief and president of the Idaho Chiefs of Police Association. The pair penned an op-ed in which they wrote policy should be made at the local level, and they warned that in an active shooter situation, those extra guns "could have tragic consequences."
"We've heard the argument that schools are in a 'free fire zone' because guns aren't allowed so only criminals will bring guns to schools," they wrote. "It is more likely, in our opinion, that firearms in schools will lead to an accidental shooting rather than an increase in student safety."
If legislators really do care about public safety, they will vote no on both bills.