Citation(s) from the GunPolicy.org literature library
Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 2021 ‘Preemption of Local Laws in Idaho.’ Other Laws & Policies. San Francisco, CA: Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 22 June
Local Authority to Regulate Firearms in Idaho
Under article XII, § 2 of the Idaho Constitution, "[a]ny county or incorporated city or town may make and enforce, within its limits, all such local police, sanitary and other regulations as are not in conflict with its charter or with the general laws." However, article I, § 11 of the Idaho Constitution prohibits any laws imposing "licensure, registration or special taxation on the ownership or possession of firearms or ammunition."
Moreover, in 2008, Idaho enacted Idaho Code § 18-3302J, which announces "the legislature's intent to wholly occupy the field of firearms regulation within this state." That section explains that "uniform laws regulating firearms are necessary to protect the individual citizen's right to bear arms." Section 18-3302J(2) states:
Except as expressly authorized by state statute, no county, city, agency, board or any other political subdivision of this state may adopt or enforce any law, rule, regulation, or ordinance which regulates in any manner the sale, acquisition, transfer, ownership, possession, transportation, carrying or storage of firearms or any element relating to firearms and components thereof, including ammunition.
However, a county may adopt ordinances to regulate, restrict or prohibit the discharge of firearms within its boundaries, so long as these ordinances do not apply to or affect:
- A person discharging a firearm in the lawful defense of persons or property;
- A person discharging a firearm in the course of lawful hunting;
- A landowner and guests of the landowner discharging a firearm, when the discharge will not endanger persons or property;
- A person lawfully discharging a firearm on a sport shooting range; or
- A person discharging a firearm in the course of target shooting on public land if the discharge will not endanger persons or property.
Similarly, a city may adopt ordinances to regulate, restrict or prohibit the discharge of firearms within its boundaries so long as these ordinances do not apply to or affect:
- A person discharging a firearm in the lawful defense of person or persons or property; or
- A person lawfully discharging a firearm on a sport shooting range.
In addition, section 18-3302J does not affect:
- The authority of the department of fish and game to make rules or regulations concerning the management of any wildlife of this state;
- The authority of counties and cities to regulate the location and construction of sport shooting ranges, subject to limitations provided in the Idaho Code; and
- The authority of the board of regents of the University of Idaho, the boards of trustees of the state colleges and universities, the board of professional-technical education and the boards of trustees of each of the community colleges established under chapter 21, title 33, Idaho Code, to regulate in matters relating to firearms.
The provisions of section 18-3302J are declared to be severable.
Section 18-3302(6) provides that a city, county or other political subdivision cannot modify the requirements for the issuance of a license to carry concealed weapons, nor shall any political subdivision ask a concealed weapons license applicant to voluntarily submit any information not required in section 18-3302.
Despite the enactment of sections 18-3302(6) and 18-3302J, section 50-308 has not been repealed. That provision states that cities have the power "to regulate, prevent and punish for the carrying of concealed weapons."
During a state of emergency, neither the governor nor any agency of any governmental entity or political subdivision of the state shall impose restrictions on the lawful possession, transfer, sale, transport, storage, display or use of firearms or ammunition.
There are no cases interpreting the scope of sections 18-3302(6), 18-3302J, 46-1008(7) or 50-308.
Sport Shooting Ranges
Local law is preempted and local governments do not have authority to establish or enforce noise standards on outdoor sport shooting ranges more restrictive than the standards in sections 67-9101 through 67-9105 (concerning sport shooting ranges owned by the state or a state agency for public use). A local government may not treat any action that does not constitute a "substantial change in use" as a violation of a local zoning ordinance, nor shall the undertaking of any such action cause an outdoor sport shooting range to be in violation of any zoning ordinance. Section 55-2604(5) lists actions that do not constitute a "substantial change in use." A local unit of government may regulate noise produced as a result of a substantial change in the use of the range.
A person who operates or uses a sport shooting range shall not be subject to civil liability or criminal prosecution in any matter relating to noise or noise pollution resulting from the operation or use of the range if the range was established, constructed or operated prior to the implementation of any noise control laws, ordinances, rules or regulations, or if the range is in compliance with any noise control laws, ordinances, rules or regulations that applied to the range and its operation at the time of establishment, construction or initial operation of the range. Rules or regulations adopted by a state or local department or agency for limiting levels of noise in terms of decibel level which may occur in the outdoor atmosphere shall not apply to a sport shooting range. A municipal noise control ordinance may not require or be applied so as to require a sport shooting range to limit or eliminate shooting activities that have occurred on a regular basis at the range prior to the enactment of the ordinance.11 Except in specified circumstances, a person may not maintain a nuisance action for noise against a shooting range located in the vicinity of that person's property.
However, a local unit of government may generally regulate the location and construction of a sport shooting range.
Sections 55-2601 through 55-2606 do not apply to outdoor sport shooting ranges owned by the state or a state agency for public use.(Noise standards for these ranges are established by sections 67-9101 through 67-9105.) Local law is preempted and local governments do not have authority to regulate the operation and use of these ranges, nor do they have authority to establish noise standards for these ranges, just as for other sport shooting ranges. A person may not maintain a nuisance action for noise against one of these ranges if it is in compliance with sections 67-9101 through 67-9105. A new use of property in the vicinity of one of these ranges does not give rise to a right to maintain a nuisance action for noise against the range…
[Editor's note: The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence regularly updates its webpages with new data as US gun regulation evolves state by state. For the most up-to-date information on US gun laws, please refer to the Giffords URL below]