Siddoway mischaracterizes the importance of Burtenshaw’s gun bill vote

Sen. Jeff Siddoway took Idaho Freedom Action to task for its mailer that  criticized Rep. Van Burtenshaw’s vote for House Bill 585. That bill would have banned gun ownership as follows: “A person who has been convicted of domestic violence who purchases, owns, possesses or has under his custody or control any firearm, within two (2) years of his conviction, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.” Simply stated, Rep. Burtenshaw voted to unreasonably restrict gun ownership.

There are a couple of facts that regarding this bill that are worth noting.

First, the bill failed to pass the House on 39 to 31 vote, with Burtenshaw joining the entire Democratic caucus in support of the bill. Second, from a state constitution perspective, the bill was constitutionally questionable. Article I, Section 11 of the Idaho State Constitution clearly states, “Nor shall any law permit the confiscation of firearms, except those actually used in the commission of a felony.” In another part of Section 11 restrictions are also tied to felony convictions.

Perhaps Rep. Burtenshaw thought that a two-year ban on possession is not confiscation. However, if one misdemeanor can be used to ban possession, it is conceivable that any misdemeanor could be used to ban the possession of firearms.  Idaho Freedom Action is justified in its criticism of Rep. Burtenshaw’s vote. Rep. Burtenshaw voted to restrict gun ownership.

Rep. Kerby mischaracterizes his gun bill vote

In a mailer, Idaho Freedom Action took Rep. Ryan Kerby to task for his vote to ban gun ownership. Recently, on LivingintheNews.com, Rep. Ryan Kerby defended his vote. Highlighted below are several facts about House Bill 585 that Rep. Kerby omitted, or simply got wrong.

HB 585 would have banned gun ownership as follows: “A person who has been convicted of domestic violence who purchases, owns, possesses or has under his custody or control any firearm, within two (2) years of his conviction, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.” Simply stated, because the bill added a misdemeanor conviction as a trigger to prohibit gun possession (current state law requires felony conviction), Rep. Kerby voted to unreasonably restrict gun ownership.

Here’s where Rep. Kerby erred. First, the bill failed to pass the House on 39 to 31 vote, with Rep. Kerby joining the entire Democratic caucus in support of the bill. Second, from a state constitution perspective, the bill was questionable. Article I, Section 11 of the Idaho State Constitution clearly states, “Nor shall any law permit the confiscation of firearms, except those actually used in the commission of a felony.” In another part of Section 11 restrictions are also tied to felony convictions.

Finally, Rep. Kerby stated in his letter-to-the-editor, “This year’s House Bill 585 was about people convicted of domestic violence — convicted of beating their spouses or children.” Rep. Kerby is not correct is his description of the bill, as a simple reading of current Idaho code demonstrates. Section 18-901 of Idaho code clearly identifies a credible threat as sufficient to warrant a charge of misdemeanor domestic assault. Thus, Rep. Kerby is confusing a felony conviction, which currently prohibits a person from possessing a firearm, with a misdemeanor conviction, which the failed bill, H585, added as an additional reason to ban possession.

Perhaps Rep. Kerby thought that a two-year ban on possession is not an unreasonable restriction. However, if one misdemeanor can be used to ban possession, it is conceivable that any misdemeanor could be used to ban the possession of firearms.  Idaho Freedom Action is justified in its criticism of Rep. Kerby’s vote. Rep. Kerby voted to unreasonably restrict gun ownership with the addition of a misdemeanor conviction as a reason for prohibition.

The race for governor

We in Idaho have an important opportunity ahead of us in 2018. We can elect a governor who is committed to conservative principles, or we can continue down the same path of bigger government.

That’s the choice we face.

Through the next 18 months, Idaho Freedom Action will play an active role in highlighting the positions of each gubernatorial candidate. That’s a responsibility we take seriously.

We will ask the candidates key questions about their vision for our great state. The questions will invite the candidates to provide specific positions on civil liberties, budgets, education, taxes, Second Amendment rights, transportation and more.

Idaho Freedom Action wants to know what questions you have for the candidates. Please send your questions to Media@IdahoFreedom.org and we will pass them along to the candidates.

The election of a conservative governor is not assured. Our recent poll of candidate support, conducted Feb. 6-8, verifies this fact. Of 400 likely Republican voters, support breaks down as follows: Raul Labrador is at 39%; Brad Little, 27%; Russ Fulcher, 7%; Tommy Alhquist, 2%. Another 23% of respondents had not decided which candidate to support. These numbers reveal that anything can happen between now and November 2018.

The undecided voters could swing the race in any direction — will it be toward big government or freedom and liberty?

Make no mistake about it: The status quo won’t work anymore. This election, we will continue to hold candidates’ feet to the fire. We are not going to rely on the legacy media to pick the topics on which candidates are evaluated. IFA will do the job so candidates say exactly what they mean.

We invite you to join the effort to define the governor’s race. Donate here to help Idaho Freedom Action hold candidates accountable.

Yours for freedom,

Wayne Hoffman