Idaho Governor Brad Little signed legislation Monday that limits the governor’s power and prohibits government entities from enforcing President Joe Biden’s executive orders combatting gun violence.
Biden has pushed for more gun control in the US. In early April, the Biden administration unveiled six measures that it would take to address gun violence, including asking the Department of Justice (DOJ) to issue a proposed rule to stop the proliferation of “ghost guns” within 30 days. The DOJ proposed a new regulation on Friday.
Little signed several bills into law on Monday, including House Bill 391, House Bill 392, House Bill 393, House Bill 394, and Senate Bill 1217. All of this legislation was aimed at limiting the governor’s power during emergency situations.
House Bill 391 also prohibits Idaho government entities from upholding Biden’s March executive orders that combat gun violence. The new legislation prohibits the governor and any governmental entities from imposing or enforcing “any additional restrictions on the lawful manufacturing, possession, transfer, sale, transport, storage, display, or use of firearms or ammunition or otherwise limit or suspend any rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution or the constitution of the state of Idaho” during national emergencies.
In signing House Bills 391, 392, and 393, Little wrote:
I also fully support the addition of language emphasizing that our constitutional rights as citizens of this state continue to exist during declared emergencies and that any restrictions on those rights must be both narrow and necessary. While our shared freedoms may at times conflict with what is required to protect lives and property during an emergency our rights must never be subjected to unnecessary or arbitrary limitations. Further, while a Governor must have the flexibility to suspend enforcement of laws that impede Idahoans’ ability to respond to emergencies, only the legislature should promulgate and enact Idaho Code.
The legislation passed both the Idaho House of Representatives and the Idaho Senate with veto-proof majorities. Upon being signed by Little, the law became effective retroactively to January 20, 2021.