Idaho Becomes Ninth Constitutional Carry State

Permitless concealed carry signed into law

March 29, 2016

Idaho legalized the carry of a concealed firearm without a permit on Friday.

Republican Gov. Butch Otter signed SB 1389 into law after it passed both the House and Senate with large majorities. The law allows everyone who is a resident of Idaho, is 21 years of age or older, and legally allowed to posses a firearm, to carry a firearm concealed on their person without obtaining a permit first.

The move makes Idaho the ninth state, following on the heels of West Virginia, to adopt a permitless framework, commonly referred to as "constitutional carry." The trend of states moving to constitutional carry laws has accelerated sharply since 2003, when only Vermont had such a system.

Though gun carry laws vary from state to state, most laws adhere to one of three standards. The most popular of these is the "shall-issue" framework, which 33 states now employ, and it requires state officials to issue a permit to anybody who meets certain training requirement and passes a background check.

The most restrictive standard, employed by only eight states, is often called "may-issue" and gives government officials ultimate discretion over who can obtain a license.

Constitutional carry is now more popular than the "shall issue" framework for the first time in the history of the United States.

Gov. Otter said he signed the bill into law because he considers himself a gun rights champion. "I’m a gun owner, a hunter and a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association," he said in a letter to the president of the Idaho State Senate. "I have consistently championed our citizens’ gun rights throughout my years in public office, and I do so again today in signing Senate Bill 1389 into law."

He also encouraged anybody considering carrying a gun to seek training and rebuked the legislature for not including a training requirement in the bill.

Gun rights activists, who have "constitutional carry" bills pending in a number of other states across the country, celebrated the bill's passage.

"This is a great day for law-abiding gun owners in Idaho," Chris Cox, the NRA’s lead lobbyist, said in a statement. "Now, the residents of Idaho can choose what method of self-defense suits them best no matter where they are in the state."

The law will officially go into effect July 1.

Published under: Guns