The county commissioners are working on a new ordinance that will allow the carrying of loaded weapons in county parks with a provision that forbids firing them except in a case of self-defense. The commissioners say that the change is necessary to bring county regulations into compliance with a state law which gives sole authority to regulate firearms to the state.
Greg Pruett, head of the gun-rights group, Idaho Second Amendment Alliance said that a 2008 state law allows cities and counties to regulate hunting but that they cannot impose bans on carrying a weapon:
“Essentially, Idaho has preemption over firearms ordinances. Cities (and) counties can’t ban someone from carrying just because they want to.”
Pruett said that he contacted the county about the ban after a local resident sent him pictures of the signs and that he thought the intent was probably to make sure that there was no hunting in the parks. The county does have the right to forbid hunting, he said but not to tell people that they could not carry a gun if they were otherwise legally allowed to do so.
The county was to hold a public hearing on the new ordinance on Friday and Pruett said that the commissioners had been “extremely helpful.”
Commissioner Terry Kramer said that the county’s lawyers have told him that Pruett was correct in his assessment that the county regulations were not compliant with state law and that county workers had already removed the signs prohibiting firearms.
Idaho Second Amendment Alliance has been busy of late contacting more than a dozen communities around the state with demands that they repeal laws restricting the carrying of weapons. In one of those towns, Burley an ordinance forbids the firing of a firearm within the city limits. Pruett is upset because there is no provision in that law allowing a weapon fired in self-defense.
Pruett is also upset that officials in Burley have not responded to his demands as yet and said that he plans to contact them again next week.