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.