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ID wants to lower permitless gun carry age to 18 statewide

Beretta Handgun. (MaxPixel/Released)
March 15, 2019

The legal age to carry a concealed handgun without a permit in Idaho cities could be lowered to 18 under a new bill headed to the state Senate.

The bill would modify a law passed in 2016 regarding young adults and carrying a concealed handgun without a permit, the Idaho Statesman reported Thursday.

“Currently young adults in our state between the ages of 18 and 21 can carry a handgun open anywhere in the state. They can carry a handgun concealed anywhere in our state except in the city limits, which is less than one percent of the real estate in the state of Idaho,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Christy Zito.

She added, “So what (this bill) basically is saying is that if you are between the ages of 18 and 21 and you are carrying your handgun open in the city limits and you decide to put your coat on, you will not become a criminal.”

In the 2016 version of the law, someone 18 or older could carry a concealed firearm anywhere in Idaho without a permit, but 18-20-year-olds were banned from concealed carry in city limits.

“The Second Amendment does not allow for sideboards,” said Rep. Chad Christensen.

“This is a mashed potatoes bill. What I mean by that is it is very basic, it is a simple staple, and it is the Idaho way,” said  Rep. Julianne Young. “The bill is simple because the whole point of it is to simplify a confusing statute … It is the Idaho way because the Idahoan brand is one of a strong independent people who are not afraid to take personal responsibility for their own lives.”

“I do not think you can get more basic than the God-given inalienable right every person has to defend their life, their liberty and their property,” Young added.

Some Democrats opposed the new bill.

State House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding said, “When young people get mad, they are more prone to make irrational decisions. That is a fact.”

Rep. John Gannon said, “Two sessions ago, this body passed a statute that said to graduate from high school you had to take a test dealing with government issues. We require our high school kids to take government their senior year and then, when they are 18, they vote. We require driver training. We require a driver’s test. You just don’t go out and drive a car. … You have to go through an extensive process before you can go drive a car. And in the military … they didn’t just hand us a gun to go shoot (upon enlisting). We had training, we had orders, we had rules … on what we could do with our weapon. Just a minimal amount of training, a minimal amount of experience, I think is appropriate for city kids.”