02 Overview and Topic Index

 

Key Issues Overview

What follows is an overview of key issues often used to profile a state’s overall stance on firearms rights and regulations. These are just the basics. Any conditions and exceptions are covered elsewhere.

Idaho is a state with relatively few constrictions purchase, possession, and usage of firearms. (For a series of charts that let you compare key gun policies for each state and the District of Columbia, see the Wikipedia article on Gun laws in the United States by state.)

When it comes to firearm rights and regulations, what you DON’T find on the books can be as important as what you DO find in them.

For instance, the Idaho state Constitution explicitly guarantees the right to keep and bear arms.

However, when it comes to firearms purchasing, registering, and licensing, there isn’t much on the books in the Idaho legislative Statutes. That’s because no Idaho permit or waiting period is required to purchase firearms, and there is no registration or licensing – even though there are typical restrictions about who cannot purchase firearms (for example, due to age, convicted felon status, or mental health status).

State laws preempt local controls or restrictions, and since the state is more rights-oriented than restriction-oriented, this falls more in the favor of gun owners.

Idaho allows open carry of both long guns/rifles and of handguns.

It is a “shall issue” state for concealed carry, meaning you must hold a valid Idaho permit to carry a concealed handgun and if you meet the criteria the state must issue you the permit. (For an at-a-glance comparison chart of states and District of Columbia for their type of policies, see the Wikipedia article on Concealed Carry in the United States.)

Idaho is a Castle Law state – not a Stand Your Ground state. This means there is no duty to retreat if there is imminent danger in one’s home, and there is civil immunity from for justifiable homicide of an intruder. (For a series of lists that let you compare the Stand Your Ground or Castle Doctrine laws for each state and the District of Columbia, see the Wikipedia article on Castle doctrine.)

There is no “assault weapon” ban. Also, there are no restrictions on “NFA Weapons,” as long as they conform to federal regulations. (NFA Weapons include automatic weapons, short-barreled shotguns and rifles, etc., that are regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934 and Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986.)

Idaho conforms to federal rules on “peaceable journey” for citizens of other states carrying firearms in Idaho.

List of Topics Indexed in Sections Below

Following is a list of the indexing sections that appear in the rest of this page. These index sections may contain summaries of the key Idaho legal issues for that topic, or list the various legal sources (Constitution, Executive Orders, Administrative Code Rules, Legislative Statutes) related to those topics, or both.

Links to PPG’s Idaho Firearm Rights resource pages will be added to the index sections later, and these will lead to extended resource summaries and paraphrases we put together ourselves to help those who are researching specific topics, issues, and controversies.

Note: This index is all about Idaho. Federal rights, rules, and regulations are not addressed in these sections.

  1. Core rights to firearms in Idaho.
  2. People who are prohibited from purchasing/possessing firearms.
  3. Sale or transfer of firearms.
  4. Places where firearms are prohibited.
  5. Places where firearms are allowed, but are regulated.
  6. Self-defense, protection, Castle Law.
  7. Concealed carry, background checks, license revocation.
  8. Records that are exempt from disclosure.
  9. Processes for obtaining, surrendering, and revoking hunting licenses.
  10. Illegal acts involving firearms.
  11. Shooting ranges.
  12. Civil lawsuits, product liability suits.

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1. Core Rights to Firearms in Idaho

Three sections of the Idaho state Constitution present the core rights of Idaho citizens, related to the right to keep and bear arms.

Section 1. Inalienable Rights of Man include “defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing and protecting property; pursuing happiness and securing safety.”

Section 11. Right to Keep and Bear Arms affirms the right of Idaho citizens to keep and bear arms.

Section 11 allows for the passage of laws related to restriction or misuse of firearms.

  • Concealed weapons
  • Minimum sentences for crimes committed while in possession of a firearm.
  • Penalties for possession of firearms by a convicted felon.
  • Punishment for the use of a firearm.

Section 11 prohibits the passage of any law involving:

  • Licensure, registration or special taxation on the ownership or possession of firearms or ammunition.
  • Confiscation of firearms, except when actually used in the commission of a felony.

Section 23. The Rights to Hunt, Fish and Trap affirms the rights of Idaho citizens to hunt, fish, and trap, including by “use of traditional methods.” These rights do not include a right to trespass on private property, affect water rights, or diminish any other private rights.

Section 23 allows for the passage of laws related to the suspension or revocation of an individual’s license for hunting, fishing, or trapping.

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2. People Who are Prohibited from Purchasing/Possessing Firearms

For details see:

  • Title 66: State Charitable Institutions – Chapter 3: Hospitalization of Mentally Ill [See this section in 06 Legislative Statutes]

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3. Sale or Transfer of Firearms

Prohibited sales or transfers:

  • Title 18: Crimes and Punishments – Chapter 85: Idaho Criminal Gang Enforcement Act [See this section in 06 Legislative Statutes]

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4. Places Where Firearms are Prohibited

Firearms are prohibited in the following locations (although certain kinds of individuals may be exempt from the prohibition as noted).

The Capitol Mall area:

  • Executive Order No. 2004-07. Exempted: state elected officials, peace officers, certain criminal investigators of the Attorney General’s Office or county prosecuting attorney’s office, those given written permission by the Office of the Governor to display weapons as part of a historical or cultural presentation, law enforcement officers authorized to carry a firearm under federal statute.

Children’s residential care facilities:

Children’s therapeutic outdoor programs:

Mental health clinics:

Veterans Homes:

Schools:

Hotels:

  • Title 39: Health and Safety – Chapter 18: Hotels and Food Vending Establishments – Regulations and Inspection [See this section in 06 Legislative Statutes]

Certain public events:

  • Title 46: Militia and Military Affairs – Chapter 8: Miscellaneous and General Provisions [See this section in 06 Legislative Statutes]
  • Title 46: Militia and Military Affairs – Chapter 10: State Disaster Preparedness Act [See this section in 06 Legislative Statutes]

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5. Places Where Firearms are Allowed, But are Regulated

Firearms are allowed in the following locations but are subject to specific regulations:

Foster homes:

  • Department of Health and Welfare, Administrative Rule 16.06.02, Standards for Child Care Licensing, see 16.06.02.435. Firearms must either be stored with trigger locks, unassembled and inoperable, locked cabinet or container, OR locked in a gun safe.

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6. Self-Defense, Protection, Castle Law

For details see:

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7. Concealed Carry, Background Checks, License Revocation

For details see:

  • Title 18: Crimes and Punishments – Chapter 33: Firearms, Explosives and Other Deadly Weapons [See this section in 06 Legislative Statutes and also the following links.]

18-3302. Issuance of licenses to carry concealed weapons.
18-3302D. Possessing weapons or firearms on school property.
18-3302H. Carrying of concealed firearms by qualified retired law enforcement officers. 

  • Title 67: State Government and State Affairs – Chapter 30: Criminal History Records and Crime Information [See this section in 06 Legislative Statutes]
  • Title 67: State Government and State Affairs – Chapter 52: Idaho Administrative Procedure Act [See this section in 06 Legislative Statutes]

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8. Records that are Exempt from Disclosure

For details see:

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9. Processes for Obtaining, Surrendering, and Revoking Hunting Licenses

For details see:

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10. Illegal Acts Involving Firearms

For details see:

Note: Many other Chapters address misdemeanors, felonies, etc., where misuse of weapons is mentioned explicitly. Those list of such references will be added later.

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11. Shooting Ranges

For details see:

  • Title 55: Property in General – Chapter 26: Sport Shooting Ranges [55-2601]
  • Title 67: State Government and State Affairs – Chapter 91: Idaho Outdoor Sport Shooting Range Act [67-9101]

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12. Civil Lawsuits, Product Liability Suits

For details see:

  • Title 5: Proceedings in Civil Actions in Courts of Record – Chapter 2: Limitation of Actions [See this section in 06 Legislative Statutes]
  • Title 6: Actions in Particular Cases – Chapter 14: Product Liability [See this section in 06 Legislative Statutes]

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