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Gun Crimes

Guns, Idaho, and the Law

Idaho is a state full of rugged wilderness, wide open ranges, and lush farmland. Hunting is a prime pastime and gun ownership for sport or protection is common. Undoubtedly, Idahoans are fond of their guns. This has led to permissive gun law in Idaho. Despite that, there are still limits on what you can do with a gun, and the “stand your ground” defense is not a get out of jail free. If you have been charged with a crime, the Idaho criminal defense lawyers at Racine Olson, PLLP can walk you through every step, and help you prepare the best defense possible.

Gun Laws are Complicated

The first thing to know about gun laws is that they are complicated. There are overlaying and sometimes conflict with federal, state, and local laws. Additionally, or national conversation about gun rights is full of misinformation. Both gun rights and gun control advocates often promote a view of gun laws that does not match reality. If you want to know what the law is, contact a lawyer, not an advocacy group.

Conceal Carry

Idaho residents that are 18 years or older can carry a concealed weapon, without a license, as long as they would not have been disqualified from getting a license (I.C. § 18-3302(4)(f)). When it comes to determining whether or not a person is allowed to carry a concealed weapon in Idaho, Idaho conceal carry basically works on the honor system. That being said, if you get arrested while carrying and you do not qualify for a license, you should expect to be prosecuted.

Even though you do not need a license to carry in Idaho, you can still apply for one. This allows you to carry in other states with reciprocal licenses. License holders are not permitted to carry on school grounds, except for some areas of colleges. State courthouses and jails are also of limits, as well as federal buildings. Anyone who intends to carry should thoroughly research the applicable rules and consult an attorney, as state and federal law sometimes conflict and the rules change regularly. Idaho’s conceal carry laws changed significantly in both 2016 and 2019. Don’t assume you know the rules, or that what you read on the internet is correct and up to date.

Stand Your Ground and Its Limits

In the simplest of terms, use of deadly force is justified when protecting the life of yourself or another, protecting yourself or another from great bodily injury, and protecting certain property from someone who intendeds to commit a felony or cause violence (I.C. § 18-4009). In general, it is best to avoid the use of deadly force if at all possible. A person asserting a stand your ground defense still has to act reasonably given the circumstances. Just remember, if you interpret the stand your ground law incorrectly you are guilty of homicide – it’s best to refrain from acting if at all possible.

In 2018 Idaho passed a modified version of I.C. § 18-4009 which clarified some elements of the justifiable homicide rules. Now, in Idaho, a person who unlawfully enters your home, place of business, or a vehicle you are in “by force or by stealth … is presumed to [have] …the intent to commit a felony.” (I.C. 18-4009(2)). Idaho’s stand your ground law is still confusing, and you still have to act as a reasonable person would. The changes only clarified the above presumption in Idaho’s stand your ground law. A legal presumption is not a rule and can be overcome by other facts. In other words, if you have good reason to know that a person on your property unlawfully is not a threat, use of force would not be justified. Criminal defense attorneys in Idaho deal with these issues regularly and at Racine Olson we are prepared to help you with your self defense case.

Gun Crimes in Idaho

Below is a sampling of some of the gun-specific crimes in Idaho.

  • I.C. § 18-3302B makes it illegal to carry your concealed weapon while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1000 fine. In other words, while you can walk into a bar with your concealed weapon, you cannot have a beer. Additionally, if you drink or get high and carry on a college campus, you will lose your conceal and carry license for three years.
  • I.C. § 18-3302E. Minors under 12 cannot possess a weapon unless in the presence of their parent or guardian, and minors ages 12-18 cannot possess a weapon without written permission of their parent or guardian. I.C. § 18-3302F. No minor can possess a handgun, sawed-off shotgun or rifle, or automatic weapon. I.C. § 18-3302G provides some exceptions to the rules for minors including at firing ranges, organized competitions, hunter’s safety courses, and while hunting with a valid license.
  • I.C. § 18-3303 prohibits showing a weapon, not for self-defense, in front of two or more people, in a “rude, angry and threatening manner,” or as part of a fight or argument. This law is strange, as it requires that for exhibition of a weapon in a “rude, angry and threatening manner” to be illegal, it must be in front of two or more people. In one case, a father and son had an argument, where no one else was present, and where son had a gun in his hand while making threats. The court found that son did not commit a crime, because son did not count as a second person under the law. State v. Coleman, 163 Idaho 671, 674, 417 P.3d 997, 1000 (Ct. App. 2018).
  • I.C. § 18-3304 makes it illegal to aim a firearm, without malice, at another person, I.C. § 18-3305 prohibits discharging a firearm, without malice, at another person. I.C. § 18-3306 makes it a crime to harm someone when discharging a firearm without malice. The three ‘without malice’ crimes, are all misdemeanors, and codify some rules that any basic firearms safety practices will prevent.
Felony Convictions and the Loss of Gun Rights

Your Second Amendment right to bear arms is far from absolute. Even in a very pro-gun state like Idaho it is possible to completely lose your right to own or even handle a firearm. Any felony conviction in Idaho, or any other state, or jurisdiction of the United States, is a complete bar to owning a firearm of any kind. (I.C. § 18-3316). Violations of this rule are also a felony, and punishable by up to 5 years incarceration and a $5000 fine. In general, criminal convictions, especially felony convictions, can have serious consequences for the rest of your life. If you are facing criminal charges, hire a qualified criminal defense to help you.

Contact Us

The knowledgeable, experienced, and diligent attorneys at Racine Olson, PLLP are here to help you and your family when you need it the most. Whether a misdemeanor or felony, our Idaho criminal defense attorneys are prepared to guide you through the legal process and fight for you at every turn. Call us toll free at 877.232.6101 or 208.232.6101 for a free consultation with the Racine Olson, PLLP team of criminal defense attorneys. You can also email us directly at We stand ready to answer your questions and help solve your criminal defense needs.

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