Lance Earl, Power County Idaho
This week, the Idaho House of Representatives finally passed a long overdue bill. They finally got around to passing what should have become law the moment I moved to Idaho. That they waited in inexcusable, unacceptable... but at least they finally screwed their hats on tight enough to know, and their courage snug enough to face the truth. This bill states that I am among the elite, among the noble, one of the the upper crust. I clarifies my status, heads and shoulders above all of you "average people", all of you from the peon side of the tracks. It validates that I may walk among as one of the truly exalted while you must come to terms with your own lowliness and your meaningless pitiful lives. I will now set aside the above nonsense because it is just that, nonsense. However, as ridiculous as it is, it is also completely true. In Idaho, I can carry a concealed weapon virtually anywhere I want. I can do so without a concealed weapons permit and why? Because I am an elected official in Power County. In fact, all of your state and county officials are in that same class of legislated royalty, and who put them there? Well they did of course! You may recall that I opposed the Idaho Enhanced Carry permit when it was first introduced by Rep. Judy Boyle. You may recall that I reached out to the entire state legislature with my concerns and with suggested solutions. You may recall that I contacted the sponsor of that bill and my local representatives multiple times through email, phone calls and personal visits. You may also recall that none responded to my concerns, that is until just last week when Rep. Ken Andrus called to tell me that there was nothing he could do. While I appreciate the call, I reject the message. So, lets take a look a just one aspect of this permit system that creates illegal monopolies, elevates some to a higher class of citizen, rips off defensive gun owners while risking the lives and the safety of all, and crushes the second amendment. The original bill allowed state and county officials to carry concealed weapons without a permit. In truth, elected officials have enjoyed this special privilege for a very long time. Unconstitutional wizards, under the dome in Boise, set out to rewrite the bill and make it fair to all. HB 243 proposed to remove the special privileges for elected officials, thereby making it a requirement for all to get a permit. I, and hundreds of second amendment proponents, argued that HB 243 was a step in the wrong direction, a step away from the Constitution instead of a move toward it. Idaho Second Amendment Alliance, backed by Rep. Heather Scott, offered up the Constitutional solution with HB 89, which simply granted permitless concealed carry privileges to all the law abiding citizens of Idaho. Because of extreme opposition to HB 243, the wizards did a quick rewrite and reintroduced it as HB 301. The only substantive change was to restore the special privileges for state and county officials. HB 301 passed the house with an overwhelming 57 to 11 vote. This new bill is the same old pig with different lipstick. So, who are these wizards of which I speak? House State Affairs Chairman Tom Loertscher, at the insistence of House Speaker Scott Bedke, held HB 89 in committee. This means that it never advanced to the floor where we could make our voices heard and where legislators could weigh the bill on its own merits. Loertscher and Bedke have both stated that HB 89 is dead. Rep. Rick Youngblood sponsored HB 243 and voted for HB 301. All the while, he strongly opposed Constitutional Carry for all. Rep. Judy Boyle, who was the force behind the original Enhanced Carry bill, continued to push for more nonsense. There is one more wizard that may surprise you. After HB 301 passed the House, I received an email from the NRA, in which they slapped themselves on the back and said, "HB 301 does not seek to present an alternative to 'constitutional carry,' which has been declared 'dead' by legislative leadership... While the NRA supports the right of law-abiding individuals to possess concealed weapons without first having to obtain a government-issued permit, this legislation does not seek to achieve that goal." The flowery letter from the NRA does not match NRA actions. Dakota Moore is an NRA lobbyist who provided strong support for the above wizards. He is an avid backer of our Enhanced Carry permit system and is strongly opposed to Constitutional Carry. Recently I spoke with him and specifically asked why the NRA was not supporting Constitutional Carry in Idaho. He stated that he was not comfortable with some of the language in HB 89. When asked to indicate the portions of the bill that he found objectionable so that they can be addressed. He refused. This weak answer was also the position of the other wizards. Perhaps there was a bit of collusion here. They say, follow the money if you want to shine light on the murky doings of wizards. Most Enhanced Permits are issued after a person takes an NRA course by an NRA instructor. The NRA gets paid every time this happens. And there you have... illumination.