SANDPOINT — Bonner County commissioners unanimously adopted a resolution Tuesday calling on the governor and state lawmakers enhance protections for the right to bear arms.
The resolution is patterned after a resolution the Idaho Republican Party is urging all 44 counties to adopt, but omits language that would direct Bonner County Sheriff Daryl Wheeler to prevent federal action that would violate the Second Amendment.
Commissioners Cary Kelly, Glen Bailey and Mike Nielsen count themselves as strong supporters of the Second Amendment.
“I definitely endorse the Second Amendment,” said Bailey.
However, commissioners said the proposed resolution asked them to do things they can’t legally do, such as directing the sheriff to carry out the board’s wishes.
As a result, the board adopted a resolution which calls upon Gov. C.L. Butch Otter and state lawmakers to enact a statute that makes it a felony offense for a governmental authority to intentionally and knowingly violate rights protected under the Second Amendment.
The Bonner County resolution strongly supports the spirit of the GOP resolution’s intent.
“That’s what we’ve given here in what we feel is the best manner, which is to kick it up to the state legislature and to the state of Idaho to take appropriate action,” said Kelly, the board’s chairman.
Wheeler did not attend Tuesday’s commission board meeting, but has also been a vocal supporter of protecting citizens’ rights to possess guns.
Along with lacking authority to direct the sheriff, Nielsen said Idaho law limits counties’ authority.
“This, I think, was the best compromise that we could come up with,” said Nielsen.