Rexburg citizens gathered outside of the courthouse Saturday, Sept. 26 for a gun rally held in support of constitutional gun carry in Idaho.
Many people had posters and holstered firearms, and many brought their children to help show their support.
Greg Pruett, Idaho Second Amendment Alliance president, said the purpose of the rally was to bring more awareness to the public and lawmakers about open carry and why it should become law in Idaho.
Constitutional carry is the legal carrying of a handgun, either openly or concealed, without the requirement of a government permit, according to the National Association for Gun Rights website.
“Rallies like these are important because it brings awareness to the Second Amendment and the rights that we have,”said Robert Strange, a Rexburg citizen. “I believe that the Second Amendment is the foundation for the rest of the amendments, and it is the only amendment that gives us, as individuals, the right to ensure our own safety.”
The Idaho Second Amendment Alliance organized the event. The purpose of the organization is to fight for the Second Amendment rights of all Idaho citizens, according to the ISAA website.
The current gun law in Idaho says that no state permit is required for the purchase of any rifle shotgun or handgun, and for concealed weapons, it is required to have a license to carry a concealed weapon, according to Idaho.gov.
Speakers from the rally said if elected officials in Idaho’s legislature do not believe in all of the amendments, then they should not be representing their state.
“If you don’t believe in the Second Amendment, then you don’t belong in our state legislature,” Pruett said.
Pruett said 25 states have proposed constitutional carry this year, and three states were able to get a bill to the governor’s desk before getting vetoed. However, Idaho could not get a public hearing to discuss the bill.
“The reason why we haven’t gotten open carry, although we are one of the reddest or most Republican states, is because we are not the most conservative state,” said Bryan Smith, an Idaho politician.
Ron Nate, a Rexburg representative, spoke to state senators and representatives in the Boise capitol.
Nate asked them if they would support a bill to pass constitutional carry in Idaho.
“Eight out of 35 senators are willing to take a stance for passing the bill for constitutional carry in Idaho, and 13 representatives would support this as well,’’ Nate said.
Nate said, that accounts for less than 20 percent of the state Senate, and less than 20 percent of the state House of Representatives.
“While talking to other representatives about gun rights, Nate was proposing to them, he mentioned that most of the representatives he talked to believed that gun rights were rights given to the citizens by the government.
“They view the right to keep and bear arms as a grace of the government, but our rights do not come from the good graces of the government,” Nate said. “They come from the good graces of God.”
Last session, Idaho Legislature passed, House Bill 301, which ensures that law-abiding Idahoans are protected from unwarranted prosecution and large fees for wanting to exercise their right to carry concealed weapons in accordance with Idaho law. It also allows elected officials to not need a permit to conceal weapons, according to Idaho.gov.
“I’m not a fan of having elected officials having special privileges to rights that the citizens who elected them don’t,” Nate said.
ISAA is hoping the rallies will gather enough supporters to help persuade the senators to pass a law that will give Idahoans the right to have concealed weapons, Pruett said.
This rally is one of many that will be held in the upcoming weeks all across Idaho, according to the ISAA website.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has,” Dan Roberts, a member of the ISAA, said in his speach.
Nate said it is important for citizens to fight for their rights because no one else will.
“If we can’t protect our Second Amendment, then what rights can we protect?” Nate said.