Home Rule

Under article XII, section 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.”

Preemption Statute

The Idaho state legislature has expressly preempted the field of firearms regulation. In 2008, Idaho enacted Idaho Code section 18-3302J, which declares that “uniform laws regulating firearms are necessary to protect the individual citizen’s right to bear arms” and that it is “the legislature’s intent to wholly occupy the field of firearms regulation within this state.”1

Section 18-3302J(2) provides:

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.

Exceptions

A county may adopt ordinances to regulate, restrict or prohibit the discharge of firearms within its boundaries, as 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
  • A person discharging a firearm in the course of target shooting on public land if the discharge will not endanger persons or property2

Similarly, a city may adopt ordinances to regulate, restrict or prohibit the discharge of firearms within its boundaries as 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
  • A person lawfully discharging a firearm on a sport shooting range3

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
  • The authority of counties and cities to regulate the location and construction of sport shooting ranges, subject to limitations provided in the Idaho Code4

The provisions of section 18-3302J are declared to be severable.5

Interpretation

As of the date this page was last updated, Giffords Law Center is not aware of any cases interpreting the statutes discussed.

Other Statutory Provisions

A city, county or other political subdivision cannot modify the requirements for the issuance of a license to carry concealed weapons.6 Nor can any political subdivision ask a concealed weapons license applicant to voluntarily submit any information not required in section 18-3302, which governs concealed weapons.7

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.”8

Sport Shooting Ranges

The Idaho Legislature expressly preempted local authority from establishing or enforcing noise standards on outdoor sport shooting ranges more restrictive than the standards established by state law.9 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.10 A local government may, however, regulate noise produced as a result of a substantial change in the use of the range.11 A local government may also regulate the location and construction of a sport shooting range.12

Sections 55-2601 through 55-2606 do not apply to state outdoor shooting ranges.13 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.14

Immunity

For state laws prohibiting local units of government (i.e., cities and counties) from filing certain types of lawsuits against firing ranges and the gun industry, see our page on Immunity Statutes in Idaho.

Notes
  1. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302J(1). ⤴︎
  2. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302J(3). ⤴︎
  3. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302J(4). ⤴︎
  4. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302J(5). ⤴︎
  5. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302J(6). ⤴︎
  6. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302(18). ⤴︎
  7. Id. ⤴︎
  8. Idaho Code Ann. § 46-1008(7). ⤴︎
  9. Idaho Code Ann. § 55-2605. Section 67-9102 sets forth the noise standards for state outdoor shooting ranges. ⤴︎
  10. Id. ⤴︎
  11. Idaho Code Ann. § 55-2603(2). Section 55-2604(5) lists actions that do not constitute a “substantial change in use.” ⤴︎
  12. Idaho Code Ann. § 55-2603(1). ⤴︎
  13. Idaho Code Ann. § 67-9102(1). ⤴︎
  14. Idaho Code Ann. § 67-9105. ⤴︎