The Idaho chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statement after the Idaho Senate passed SB1205, legislation which would attempt to nullify federal gun safety laws, including the laws that prohibit people with dangerous histories from having firearms. The legislation would encourage extremists to defy federal gun laws and prevent local law enforcement for doing their jobs.
“With gun violence continuing to plague our state and country, it’s unfathomable that lawmakers would choose to spend their time fighting for legislation that might exacerbate that,” said Alice Arambarri, a volunteer with the Idaho chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Nullification is not only dangerous, but also unconstitutional. We need to pass proven solutions to this public health crisis not play politics.”
“Nullification is nothing more than a political ploy,” said Lauren Axness, a volunteer with Students Demand Action in Idaho. “Our state doesn’t have time for this type of partisan and dangerous bill. We need meaningful action to prevent gun violence now—especially gun suicide which makes up over 85% of our state’s gun deaths.”
Nullifying federal law is unconstitutional and provisions in the bill would prevent law enforcement officers from protecting their communities from gun violence and encourage extremists to defy federal gun laws, including laws that keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. Idaho already has some of the weakest gun laws in the country, and under a nullification law this is only exacerbated.
With over 260 gun deaths per year, Idaho needs proven gun safety laws to end this public health crisis but under a nullification law Idaho law enforcement officers would be discouraged from assisting federal authorities in making sure people who are a threat to themselves and others don’t have access to a firearm. Nullification is widely opposed by law enforcement officers across the country and a similar bill was recently defeated in Wyoming this session.
Gun violence costs Idaho $1.9 billion each year, of which $44.2 million is paid by taxpayers. Lawmakers should be focused on legislation that will save lives and money in the state such as extreme risk and secure storage laws.
Additional information on gun violence in Idaho is available here, and Everytown’s Gun Law Navigator — which shows how Idaho’s gun laws compare to those of other states — is available here.