Domestic violence gun bill killed in House

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BOISE — A bill that would have kept guns out of the hands of convicted domestic abusers was voted down this week.

The Idaho House of Representatives held a vote on March 6, to decide the fate of HB 585 that would have made it illegal for anyone convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence from possessing or purchasing a firearm. The bill was narrowly defeated with 31 votes in favor and 39 votes against.

The Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 already makes it a federal crime for anyone convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence from possessing a firearm. But that law can only be enforced in federal court and not by state and local authorities. In the bill’s statement of purpose, it says the goal here is to make the federal law more effectively enforceable at the state and local level.

Rep. Neil Anderson (R-Blackfoot) said he voted in favor of the bill because it would serve as a deterrent to domestic violence.

“It would just maybe make the future and the welfare of, particularly, women and children a little more secure,” Anderson told EastIdahoNews.com.

While Rep. Ron Nate (R-Rexburg) said he believed the bill to be noble in its intent, he was worried about the possibility of a very minor offense taking away the gun rights of a citizen.

“A misdemeanor domestic violence conviction can be something as minor as a shouting match with harsh threatening words and a grab of the wrist,” Nate said. “Felonies are understandably much more serious and we already have a law says felons cannot own or have guns.”

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