The Voice of Idaho Editorial Staff
BOISE, ID (TVOI News) – Idaho’s Constitutional Carry bill, House Bill 89, will not be advancing to the House floor for a vote due to the recalcitrance of State Affairs Committee Chair Tom Loertscher (R-Iona). Several Idaho citizens supportive of the bill spoke up Monday, but the bill will not advance.
According to the Free Republic, Chairman Loertscher said, “I’m done with this bill. It isn’t going anywhere.”
Under Idaho law, any of-age person may carry firearms openly across the state, but if that firearm is concealed they must have a concealed carry permit. Supporters of HB 89, including the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance (ISAA), hoped to change that by removing the penalties for concealed carrying a firearm without a permit.
This idea, known as “Constitutional carry,” has been gaining steam across the country. Though until 2003, Vermont was the only state to allow concealed carry without a permit, in recent years Alaska, Wyoming, and Arkansas have followed suit. This year, bills are being introduced in West Virginia, South Dakota, Nevada, New Hampshire, and West Virginia. West Virginia’s Senate Bill 347 is now on the Governor’s desk.
This begs the question, then: If the bills in other gun-friendly states have moved forward, why did Idaho’s HB 89 die so quickly? The first, and perhaps most unlikely source, was the National Rifle Association. As shown in exclusive TVOI video, the National Rifle association not only backed a competing, weaker, bill, but implied Constitutional Carry supporters were working with gun control advocacy group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
But the biggest reason HB 89 died was Chair Loertscher. He claimed that gun rights supporters were harassing him and his family at home and that was an unacceptable enough action to drop the bill entirely. However, ISAA claimed that his complaints were disingenuous at best:
“Conspicuously missing from Mr. Loertscher’s complaint that his constituents were calling him at home is the fact that he, himself, published his home phone number in both the legislative directory and his own campaign page.”
After a quick glance at Rep. Loertscher’s public profiles, TVOI confirmed that the representative does indeed have his home address and phone number listed in the legislative directory, his campaign website (where he encourages people to contact him), and it is even listed as his district phone on Project Votesmart.
It is difficult to see how Rep. Loertscher can claim family harassment, and complain that “And the new low is, I suppose, that they are publishing mine and some other members of the body’s home phone numbers” when he published his own himself. Perhaps that’s another reason he failed VoteSmart’s political courage test and refused, despite repeated requests, to take public stances on issues that matter.
This year, Constitutional Carry bills will not advance in the Idaho Statehouse. However, the more important question, at this point, is why. It appears Rep. Loertscher will have to come up with more satisfactory answers.
Featured Image Credit: Idaho Reporter