Idaho Senate passes 2 concealed carry bills

BOISE, Idaho (AP) The Senate unanimously passed two concealed carry bills on Monday, including one that expands the number of weapons that wouldn't require a permit under Idaho's concealed weapons rules.

Both proposals have already received a nod from the House and were headed to the desk of Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter for his signature.

One of the bills carves out an exemption in the concealed weapons law for Tasers, pepper spray and knives with blades shorter than 4-inches, including kitchen knives. People who carry the items wouldn't need a permit.

Rep. Pete Nielsen brought the bill after his son was cited during a traffic stop for carrying a 4-inch knife in his car. The exemptions would give Idahoans more latitude to carry non-deadly weapons, Nielsen has said.

The Mountain Home Republican originally wanted to relax the law for knives with longer blades, but he backed off after law enforcement balked at the change.

The measure helps clarify ambiguous sections of the code referring to dangerous and deadly weapons, said Sen. Curt McKenzie, R-Boise. The law now defines four types of knives that require permits, but doesn't mention hunting, utility or cooking blades.

"Something that's inherent in these types of laws, when you have a broad definition like that, it is subject to interpretation and it doesn't give our citizens a good guideline as to what's criminal and what is not," he said. "(This bill) brings clarity to that and makes it a better law."

A second bill aims to make Idaho's concealed weapons permit more likely to be recognized by other states. It would create a beefed-up, voluntary "enhanced" permit for gun owners. Obtaining it would require an eight-hour class, live fire training and a mental health check.

The legislation doesn't impact current license holders, said the bill's sponsor, Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise.

"Idaho's process that we qualify people for does not meet the more stringent standards for training that other (states) require," Winder said. "This bill would get us to where we comply with the state of Michigan, (which is) recognized by most states."