Idaho bill aims to stop Biden executive actions on gun laws
Keith Ridler, Associated Press
BOISE (AP) — A House panel on Monday approved legislation intended to head off a half-dozen executive actions from President Joe Biden to combat what he called an “epidemic and an international embarrassment” of gun violence in America.
The House State Affairs Committee sent to the House the measure that prohibits Idaho government entities from upholding the executive actions announced earlier this month. The measure has already passed the Senate.
Idaho already has in place legislation from 2014 stating that Idaho government cannot enforce federal actions that infringe upon Second Amendment rights. The additions to that law now being proposed with the new legislation seek to prevent Biden’s executive actions from being enforced in Idaho.
Biden’s orders include a move to crack down on “ghost guns,” homemade firearms that lack serial numbers used to trace them and are often purchased without a background check.
Biden also moved to tighten regulations on pistol-stabilizing braces like the one used in Boulder, Colorado, in a shooting last month that left 10 dead. The braces for handguns allow them to be fired from a shoulder, like a rifle.
Biden is also seeking “red flag laws” allowing family members or law enforcement to, with a court order, temporarily bar people in crisis from accessing firearms if they present a danger to themselves or others.
Republican Rep. Judy Boyle, one of the bill’s sponsors, said the legislation had been in the works for several months, but lawmakers were waiting to see what kind of actions Biden took.
The legislation, if it becomes law, is retroactive to Jan. 20 and prevents all government entities from enforcing any executive order, federal law, treaty, agency order, or rule of the U.S. government involving firearms, firearm components, firearm accessories or ammunition that conflicts with the Idaho Constitution.
Boyle also said the legislation prevents gun and ammunition manufacturers from being held responsible should their products be used in a crime.
“This also will protect our many manufacturers that we have here in Idaho who make firearms and ammunition,” Boyle told lawmakers.
Brian Lovell, president of the Idaho Fraternal Order of Police, said his group supported the new legislation as it supported the 2014 legislation.
“We did not want to be enforcing unconstitutional gun grabs from law abiding-citizens,” Lovell told lawmakers.
Democratic Rep. Chris Mathias, who voted against the measure, questioned whether Idaho could become a place for criminals to buy ghost gun kits to make untraceable weapons used in crimes.
Among the other concerns was that Idaho could be passing legislation that conflicts with federal laws and could mean the state will lose federal dollars.
Backers have acknowledged the possibility of losing federal funding, but Boyle said Monday Idaho had not lost any federal dollars so far after passing the 2014 law.
Besides the executive actions, Biden has said that among his priorities for Congress are passing the Violence Against Women Act, eliminating lawsuit exemptions for gun manufacturers and banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. He’s also called on the Senate to take up House-passed measures to close background check loopholes.
But with an evenly-divided Senate — and any gun control legislation requiring 60 votes to pass — Democrats would have to keep every member of their narrow majority on board while somehow adding 10 Republicans.