BOISE (FCP) March 25, 2016 – Idaho has joined a growing number of states rejecting gun regulation as a panacea for social violence ills. On Friday, March 25, 2016 Idaho Governor CL “Butch” Otter sent a clear message to the anti-gun and anti-Second Amendment political interests that Idaho has a different view. Otter signed Senate Bill 1389, making it clear by state statute that it is legal throughout Idaho for residents over 21 years of age to carry a concealed firearm without a permit.
Supporters of SB 1389 argue that the new law recognizes a law-abiding adult’s unconditional right to Keep and bear arms in the manner he or she chooses. Critics worry that the new law did not include gun safety training and that modern violence and mass shootings call for more strict gun regulations – certainly not abandoning them altogether.
Prior to the 1897 United States Supreme Court case Robertson v. Baldwin federal courts had been almost entirely silent on the issue of concealed carry. In the landmark 2008 Supreme Court case of District of Columbia v. Heller, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote;
Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues … The majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues.
The Heller decision was pivotal because for the first time in American history the right to bear arms was clearly defined by the Supreme Court as constitutionally guaranteed to private citizens rather than a right restricted only to “well regulated militia[s]”. The debate over “sensible” gun control continues today as to what constitutes a “well-regulated” militia, and its place in modern civil society, as well as what rules and regulations are permissible for the states to adopt in regulation of their citizen’s rights to keep and bear arms. In Heller, the court asserted that sensible restrictions on the right to bear arms are constitutional, however, an outright ban on a specific type of firearm, in this case handguns, was in fact unconstitutional. But, in a rather direct and poignant manner Justice Scalia also wrote for the majority of the court in affirming that in addition to recreational use and self-defense, the individual right to bare arms also ensured that citizens were “better able to resist tyranny.”
Resisting tyranny seems to be far from the minds of most Americans, but increasingly the Second Amendment is being scrutinized in just such contexts – i.e. the Oregon Refuge Protests led by Ammon Bundy and LaVoy Finicum.
In any event, by signing this new law, Idaho has signaled to its citizens and to the nation – that freedom is a better solution to today’s serious problems than regulation. This approach is not only consistent with modern social science research – see Plassmann, Florenz (October 2001). “Does the Right to Carry Concealed Handguns Deter Countable Crimes? Only a Count Analysis Can Say”. Journal of Law and Economics – but is also consistent with the idea that government overreach is as much of a problem as the social ills facing Americans.
On this issue, The Free Capitalist Project congratulates Idaho and Gov. Butch Otter for standing on the right side of freedom.