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Bill to Repeal ‘Antiquated’ Militia Code and ‘Parade in Public with Firearms’ Clears House Committee

By • February 16, 2022

House Bill 475 has passed through the House Transportation and Defense Committee and will head to the full House.

The Idaho Army National Guard is bringing the bill forward. When the bill was presented by Maj. Steve Stokes from the IDARNG, said the bill was part of Gov. Brad Little’s efforts to reduce unnecessary regulations and laws.

Here is how the Statement of Purpose as defined by HB 475:

This proposal is to eliminate Idaho Code Section 46-802 entirely. Currently Idaho Code Section 46-802 makes it illegal for a “body of men” to “associate together as a military company or organization” or “parade in public with firearms in any city or town of this state” unless they’re “called into service of the state.” The restrictions in this code section are antiquated and are clear violations of the First and Second Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and Article I, Sections 9, 10, and 11 of the Idaho Constitution. The proposed change will eliminate this statute entirely.

Stokes said during his opening testimony that the banning of private militias is already covered in another part of Idaho code. Additionally, he stated that the code was unenforceable because no mechanism exists in the code to punish those who violate it.

Several organizations spoke out for and against the bill today and online.

Moms Demand Action opposed the bill. One of their members testified before the committee and said in part,

Open carry, the act of carrying firearms visibly in public, is a dangerous policy that is exploited by white supremacists and opposed by law enforcement and the public.

Testifiers against the bill said that repealing the law would make Idaho more dangerous and let armed citizens patrol the streets. In addition, most said that the bill would allow private militias to organize and scare Idaho citizens.

The mayor of Sandpoint and a Democrat gubernatorial candidate, Shelby Rognstad, spoke against the bill. Here are a few of the statements from Rognstad’s testimony which is not his entire testimony, but portions of it that we were able to gather:

As a mayor, I invite you to vote against 475. It invites private militia who have no accountability to civil authority. They answer to no one.

I fully support our local sheriffs, our police departments, and the Idaho National Guard to protect and serve Idaho. We must respect the chain of command, which does not exist under private militias.

Militias must be accountable and subordinated to civil authority. I urge you to please vote against House Bill 475 and I’m happy to answer any questions, if you have any.

The Idaho 97% has also come out opposed to the legislation.

Stokes closed his presentation of the bill, stating,

I would just urge you to review the material that you’ve been provided. The other aspects of Idaho law, including 18-8103 of the Idaho Constitution, and make a sound judgement based on your conscience.

The Idaho Second Amendment Alliance told the committee through email that the organization favored HB 475 and asked the committee to send the bill to the floor with a “do pass” recommendation.

After debate, the bill was passed on a vote of 13-4, with Rep. Scott Syme (R-Middleton) being the lone Republican to vote against the bill.

Disclosure Note: Greg Pruett is the current President of the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance.


Tags: HB 475, Idaho 97%, Idaho Army National Guard, Idaho Second Amendment Alliance, Major Steve Stokes, Moms Demand Action, Scott Syme, Shelby Rognstad, Transportation and Defense

13 thoughts on “Bill to Repeal ‘Antiquated’ Militia Code and ‘Parade in Public with Firearms’ Clears House Committee

  1. Idaho is better than that! What was Symes’s thinking? I’m Hispanic and I am a law abiding citizen. This crap about White Supremacy causing militias is ridiculous. Idaho always favored the Second Amendment, if you don’t like it try moving to California, New York, Chicago, etc and see if your neighbor who carries will protect you. They already are defunding the police so their hands are tied due to stupid government. Don’t mess with our constitutional rights!!

  2. Repealing these laws is a good idea. The only people speaking against it are the usual libtard suspects, and are best ignored, but carefully watched.

  3. It’s sad and absolutely astounding to see the level of incompetence that has invaded our state. 99% of us who were born and raised here understand that people don’t just go waving guns around here. The fact that “Mons demand action “ group thinks people just Willy-Nilly waves guns around and removing this bill somehow makes it unsafe, clearly shows they have no idea what being an Idahoan means. It’s laughable. Do they not know how many of us carry every day? And yet they are still safe. These people really need to go back to whatever liberal state they crawled out of. We don’t have room for this nonsense here. Not sure if these idiots got the memo, but the whole “everyone is a white supremacist if they don’t do exactly as I say” narrative doesn’t work.

    1. Right!! At least not in Idaho. Totally agree with you Shelley! A lot of us carry and I hope these people learn that here in Idaho we protect (even if they are liberals) the lives of those in danger and ourself!

  4. This Bill makes Idahoans unsafe against leftist and RINO establishment tyranny. Militias are a big part of why America is still not under England’s Royal rule. It were conscientious Black Robed Pastors who let local church local militias against the area Coats. Abolishing the right to open carry serves no purpose but to no protection but from evil despots. Wake up.

  5. Good idea, because we protect ourselves with or without permission anyhow so it would sure be nice if it weren’t illegal. When Tyranny becomes law, I become an outlaw.

    On another point. Sure seems like Someone is embracing the freedom fighting spirit in advance before we need to us it, it looks ?

  6. It would be interesting to know the history behind the current legislation against militias.
    When the Western States were starting to form, we were fighting against the Banksters and Robber Barons. They would enslave/control whole communities by controlling the industry and businesses. The song 16 Tons is based on those situations. And they would repress the people with paid private militia. I know there was at least one uprising and massacre in north Idaho around 1890.
    It’s my understanding we can and do have militias in Idaho. And we should be able to, it is our right. So there must be more to these “antiquated” laws. It’s probably based on wisdom we do not currently understand.

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