C.L. "Butch" Otter

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter speaks to reporters about the upcoming 2014 legislative session at the State Capitol building Friday, Jan. 3, 2014 in Boise, Idaho. The new session begins Monday, Jan. 6. (AP Photo/Otto Kitsinger)

    After passing a law that allows concealed weapons to be carried on Idaho university campuses earlier this month, Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter went one step further last week when he signed into law Senate Bill 1332, which will effectively nullify federal gun laws in the state.

    The Idaho Federal Firearms, Magazine and Register Ban Enforcement Act passed the House by a vote of 68 to 0 and the Senate by 34 to 0.

    In a statement released Monday, Otter said his office worked on Senate Bill 1332 with Senators Bart Davis, Marv Hagedorn and other state law makers.

    “I signed it into law as a way of protecting our Second Amendment rights under the United States Constitution and indemnifying Idaho law enforcement officials from enforcing federal firearms or ammunition restrictions that conflict with Section 11, Article I of the Idaho Constitution,” Otter said.

    About a dozen other states have legislation in the works aimed at blocking proposed federal gun legislation.

     Earlier this month, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed both Sen. Charles Schumer’s (D-NY) “Fix Gun Checks Act,” which would criminalize all private firearm sales and Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) “Assault Weapons Ban.”

    The bills have a long way to go before becoming law, but states across the nation are introducing preemptive laws to defeat any new federal gun restriction.

    Two senators in Ohio, introduced SB36 – the bill would prohibit firearms seizures, registration and bans in their state and Sen. Jared Carpenter introduced a bill in Kentucky that would prohibit the state from enforcing new federal gun control laws if they’re enacted.   The measure passed by a vote of 34-3.

    In Louisiana, Rep. Jim Morris sponsored legislation that “prohibits the enforcement of federal restrictions regarding the ownership or possession of semi-automatic firearms,” while in Oklahoma the House Public Safety Committee passed a bill to ban the enforcement of federal gun laws.

    The “Arizona Firearms: Prohibited Enforcement” bill makes it a Class 6 felony for the federal government to enforce new laws or regulations on guns, accessories and ammunition owned or manufactured in the state.

    Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen said the new law is supported by the Idaho Sheriff’s Association.

    Similar legislation proposed last year was rejected by the association, Nielsen said, because it made it a felony for county agents to assist federal agents.

    “We work closely with and assist federal agencies on fugitive and drug cases,” Nielsen said. “The new law applies only to the enforcement of gun laws. Basically, I won’t enforce any law that goes against the Idaho Constitution.”

    Nielsen, a past Idaho Association of Sheriffs president, said the new law does not disregard the U.S. Constitution, but applies to laws enacted by executive order.

    “My obligation is to the state, not to executive order, you can’t enact laws through executive order,” Nielsen said.

    Bingham County Sheriff Craig Rowland said last year’s enforcement ban was too vague, but he supports the new law.

    “I think the message we’re sending is that we won’t let the feds come in and take our guns,” Rowland said. “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. I can leave my gun on the desk all day, it won’t go off and it won’t kill anybody.”

    The new law comes weeks after the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms raided Ares Armory in San Diego, Calif., despite a restraining order being issued against the federal agency.

    According to TownHall, the company, which sells firearms parts, obtained a restraining order against the ATF to prevent a federal raid aimed at gaining access to a list of more than 5,000 customer who had purchased a plastic or polymer lower receiver from EP Armory.  The metal version of the receiver is legal because it’s stamped with a serial number, but the plastic version is illegal due to the absence of a serial number.

    Federal Judge Janis L. Sammartino approved the restraining order. But under pressure from the Department of Justice, Sammartino reversed the order and heavily armed ATF agents in tactical gear raided the Ares Armory, the raid was caught on video and the ATF confiscated materials - plastic receivers- and the customer list. Early this month Idaho also passed legislation that will allow concealed weapons to be carried on Idaho college campuses in spite of opposition from university presidents statewide —weapons will be prohibited at stadiums and event centers, as well as dormitories.

    ISU President Arthur Vailas said the university is working with the State Board of Education to develop guidelines for implementing the new law,

    ISU is reviewing the law and looking for flexibility while providing signage on areas where weapons will be prohibited.

    ISU Public Safety officers are unarmed and arming them would require the officers to meet state police standards.

    “We are looking at all that,” Vailas said. “My task is to be compliant to the new law.”