Idaho's House of Representatives passed a measure on Monday that would make it a crime for state and local authorities to enforce new gun control measures enacted by Washington. The largely symbolic measure, a clear reaction to the Obama administration's attempts to further restrict firearms, passed in the state house by 55-13. It will now head to the senate for approval, Reuters reports.
The bill, which has created intense debate, issues some strict penalties for law enforcement officials who comply with federal law to enforce potential new restrictions. State and local authorities could be fined up to $1,000 and spend up to a year in prison for doing so. The offense would be considered a misdemeanor.
Chance Novak, 18, left, and his father Chet Novak, both of Boise, stand outside the Idaho Statehouse after a pro-gun rally on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013 in Boise. Credit: AP
The controversial bill was drafted by state Rep. Mark Petterson, a Republican. While on the floor discussing the bill, Petterson heralded it as an opportunity to let citizens in the state know that their Second Amendment rights will be protected.
"[Idaho] citizens are pleased they can feel safe Idaho's law enforcement will not be kicking in their front doors to take their firearms," Patterson said while debating the bill.
While the bill passed the House and while it certainly has its supporters, there are some who have major reservations about its central tenets.
Allen Tesky, right, stands with members of the Lightfoot Militia during a gun rights rally on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. The Light Foot Militia was present during the event to advocate the importance of individual firearms ownership. Credit: AP
The head of the Idaho Sheriffs' Association, for one, warns that the measure could harm state programs that seek to collaborate with federal officials to crack down on gun violence and drug trafficking On Monday, Democratic Rep. Elaine Smith added that she doesn't want to see federal officials being pitted against local police.
Also, other critics note that the bill creates an inherent battle for officials who swear an oath to abide by both federal and state laws.
"They take an oath of office to the United States and the state of Idaho," explained Boise Democratic Rep. Holli Woodings, according to the AP. "I find that an inherent flaw in this legislation."
Featured Image: Shutterstock.com.
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