Can Idaho and Montana Expand Constitutional Carry in 2020?

When you think of some of the most pro-2nd Amendment states in the country, many gun owners and gun control advocates would look to the west.

Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana have some of the best pro-gun laws in the country.

Idaho is currently ranked #2 in the 2019 Guns and Ammo “Best States for Gun Owners” list.

Wyoming is ranked #8 and Montana is right behind them at #9.

That’s three Northwestern states in the Top 10!

When it comes to Constitutional Carry however, the three states seem to have an issue with doing it correctly.

There are currently 17 states with Constitutional Carry.

Of those, 13 of them have full Constitutional Carry for all legal residents of the United States. That means that any legal resident of the United States can carry concealed without a permit in those states.

Unfortunately, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and North Dakota have restrictions against some or all non-residents of their respective states carrying concealed without a permit.

Wyoming and North Dakota ban all non-residents from carrying concealed in their states with no permits.

Wyoming, which passed Constitutional Carry in 2011, appears to have made no effort to repeal their “residency” requirement.

Montana has a restriction on Constitutional Carry for all legal residents inside city limits. This constitutes a very small portion of the state.

Image courtesy of USCCA.

Over 97% of Montana is “outside city limits” and therefore any legal resident of the United States can carry concealed without a permit as long as they don’t cross those boundaries.

Montana’s Democrat Governor, Steve Bullock has vetoed Constitutional Carry several times and does not appear to be backing down anytime soon on the issue.

However, Montana’s gun owners will also have the ability to vote for LR-130 on the November 2020 ballot which will move Constitutional Carry to inside city limits.

Local governments will still be able to restrict Constitutional Carry inside buildings owned by the city, but nothing more.

This would make Montana as much of a Constitutional Carry states as many of the others.

Perhaps the strangest Constitutional Carry state, though not the most restrictive, is Idaho.

Idaho, like Montana, had Constitutional Carry “outside of city limits” for years and still does for all legal U.S. residents. In 2016 Idaho moved its Constitutional Carry to “inside city limits” but it only applied to Idaho residents who were 21-years-old and older.

In 2019 Idaho Representative Christy Zito led the charge to lower the age limit inside city limits for Constitutional Carry to 18-years-old which matched the age limit outside of city limits.

Representative Christy Zito (R-23) speaks at the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance annual Gold Banquet.

The bill, House Bill 206, was overwhelmingly approved by the Idaho legislature and signed by Governor Little.

Idaho has just one more step to go.

As it stands currently, any legal non-resident of Idaho may carry their sidearm openly anywhere in the state. They may carry their sidearm concealed without a permit anywhere outside of city limits.

Any non-resident of Idaho may also carry their sidearm in their vehicle, anywhere in the state, with no permit.

Non-residents can also carry shotguns and rifles inside city limits without the need for a permit.

The only thing Idaho non-residents can’t do is carry their sidearm inside city limits (outside of their vehicle) without a permit.

Confused yet? You should be because the law doesn’t make any sense and most likely violates the privileges and immunities clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Constitutional arguments aside, the law is confusing to people living in or visiting Idaho and it is certainly confusing for law enforcement.

Idaho Representative Christy Zito has been working for several years to get rid of the “residency” requirement inside city limits and is doing so again this year.

If Montana and Idaho can push full Constitutional Carry this year, it will go a long way in preventing other states from trying to copy their versions of the law which are more restrictive.

While states like Oregon and Washington are doing everything they can do lower their ranking for gun rights, it’s nice to see that some Northwestern states are moving in a pro-gun direction!

2020 could be a big year for gun owners in Montana and Idaho.

One thought on “Can Idaho and Montana Expand Constitutional Carry in 2020?”

  1. Thank you Christy Zito for being persistent. We need to get these loop holes closed to stop everyone of these new gun laws from coming into this Great State of Idaho. What can the voters do to help your fight?

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