Gun activists note Idaho law allowing guns on public land

Posted at 2:09 AM, Aug 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-08 04:09:29-04

BOISE, Idaho — Gun rights activists say they are focusing on Idaho's county fairs to ensure state law that allows adults to carry weapons on public land is followed.

Concerns about security at fairs and festivals have been heightened in the wake of three recent mass shootings in California, Texas and Ohio.

Idaho law says no city or county can stop people from carrying guns on public property. Idaho Second Amendment Alliance President Greg Pruett pointed that out to Canyon County Fair officials last month, when they tried to bar him from carrying a gun into the fairgrounds.

"Do you know what the state law is? Then you're violating it," he said in a recording of the discussion. Pruett was eventually allowed into the fair with his gun on his hip.

When a Twin Falls County sheriff's deputy recently asked people to leave their guns at home for that county's fair, Republican Rep. Chad Christensen from Ammon criticized the deputy on Facebook.

"There is a movement to stop citizens from carrying at county fairs," Christensen wrote on his Facebook page. "Please let me know if you see something like this in our district. It is a violation of the law to stop you!"

The sheriff's office later released a statement clarifying its support for the Second Amendment.

When the Western Idaho Fair starts later this month, Ada County spokeswoman Elizabeth Duncan says there will be no signs prohibiting firearms.

Some lawmakers have voiced concerns about the state's lenient gun laws.

Earlier this year, the Legislature passed a bill that allows anyone 18 or older to carry concealed weapons without a permit. The law had previously applied to those 21 or older.

Some event organizers are trying to keep weapons out their venues. Officials for the Festival at Sandpoint recently announced that its music festival held at a city park will continue to be a "gun-free zone," in part because of contractual obligations with performing artists. The event began earlier this month and runs through Aug. 11.