BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho House resoundingly passed a bill that would repeal the state’s primary law banning private militias on Wednesday.
Bill sponsor Rep. Joe Palmer of Meridian said the law is antiquated and has never been enforced in Idaho. It prohibits people from creating private militias and towns from raising their own paramilitary organizations.
Palmer, a Republican, says Idaho has other statutes that law enforcement can use to target militias if needed. Democratic Rep. John Gannon debated against the bill, saying it sends the wrong message. He noted it was enacted after violent confrontations between mining workers and anti-union officials led to the assassination of then-Gov. Frank Steunenberg a century ago.