Boise, Idaho, July 29, 2015 – The Idaho Second Amendment Alliance (ISAA) has been investigating the costs of Concealed Weapons Permits (CWPs) across the State of Idaho. Results showed that the cost of the CWPs vary from county to county, often times with considerable differences. For example, the cost of a CWP in Bingham County is only $62 while it costs a staggering $115 in Teton County. Idaho Code clearly states that fees can only be collected to cover the costs of the permitting process. This leads to the question: why is the cost of CWPs so different across Idaho if the fees collected by the counties should be essentially the same?
The ISAA has obtained an opinion from the Idaho Attorney General’s (AG’s) office sent to Idaho Representative Heather Scott. This opinion is in response to Rep. Scott’s inquiry to the Attorney General as to what money may be collected for CWPs and what a Sheriff’s Office or County might be able to use the fees for if any money was “left over” after processing CWP applications. The opinion from the AG’s office states, in part, “The sheriff should attempt to charge no more than these actual costs. If the actual costs decrease, the corresponding charges should be decreased as well.” A full copy of the AG’s opinion can be found on the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance website, idahosaa.org.
“The ISAA has long maintained that the permitting system is a great revenue stream for the counties”, said Greg Pruett, President of the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance. “It seems that the large disparity in CWP pricing across Idaho indicates some counties are taking more money than is authorized by Idaho statute.”
“The citizens of each county need to look into these disparities and ask questions of their elected officials as to why their fees are so much higher than those in another county and what cost analysis has been done to ensure more fees are not being collected than is necessary to cover the costs of the permitting process”, said Pruett. “Other questions should be asked to Idaho legislators. For instance, we were told that House Bill 301 would ensure that taxes charged to Idaho citizens for concealed weapons permits would be limited to actual costs. Why then are the fees still so high and varied across the state?”
The real question is why are Idaho citizens being charged a tax at all to exercise a right that is naturally given to them and was enshrined in the U.S. Constitution? There are approximately 30,000 Idaho citizens who currently do not have to have a permit to carry a concealed weapon, also referred to as Constitutional Carry or Permitless Carry. These individuals are generally government employees and officials. The ISAA proposed Constitutional Carry for all Idaho citizens in 2015 under House Bill 89 which also maintained the existing CWP system to maintain reciprocity with other states.
Idaho Sheriffs and Counties need to follow Idaho Code and ensure their CWP fees are accurate and reflect the true cost of issuing the permits.
The Idaho Freedom Foundation released this article today about the same letter.
You may also find the AG’s letter on our website along with this official press release.