Victory For Open Carry In Boise, Idaho


April 30, 2008, 03:12 PM
First let me say I was not involved in this incident. I am just posting this information here so that more people can know about it.

Originally posted on the Idaho forum (

Original thread here (

So I had quite the encounter with the Boise Police today. Here's how it transpired.

At approximately 3:15 PM I drove to the Boise Public Library to get a couple books and CDs. I was wearing a long sleeve shirt, blue jeans with a Blackhawk belt. I was carrying my Glock 19 in a Serpa CQC holster strong side with an extra 17 round mag on weak side. I had a backpack on that contained my laptop and school books.

I browsed for about 15 mins during which time I picked up two books and two CDs. I was looking at some other CDs when I was approached by a library employee (First name was Tom, approx. 55-65 years old, white hair and beard. I later ascertained that he was one of the guys in charge of the library. I am unsure as to his exact position) He looked at my Glock and told me that I was not allowed to carry in the library. I informed him that I was perfectly legal and would continue to carry. He then said it was against the policy and he didn't care what the law said but that I was not allowed to carry in there. I responded that BPL is a subsidiary of the state of Idaho and as such it falls under state pre-emption statutes and that as such, he had no authority to ask me to disarm. He then pulled out his cell phone and said that he was calling the cops.

He walked off and started talking to the police while i pulled out my phone and called Patriot. I double checked that I was within the law and Patriot told me that he was 10 mins away and was on his way over.

I continued browsing (no sense in wasting my time) and waited to see what would happen. Patriot arrived, called me to let me know he was there but refrained from making contact. He informed me there was a BPD officer outside but that the officer had not entered the building.

About 3 mins later (Approximately 3:35) four uniformed officers entered the building and approached me. The initiating officer instructed me to place my hands on my head and interlace my fingers. He then informed me that he was going to disarm me and search my person for additional weapons. I asked him on what grounds and he informed me that Boise Municipal code prohibited firearms in public buildings, and that because I had refused to leave I was suspected of trespassing. As such, he was removing my weapon for officer safety so he could talk to me. I acknowledged his concern and allowed him to finish the search.

At this point he allowed me to lower my hands and we started talking. He explained that he had be called because an armed man was refusing to leave the library. He told me that the library has a policy against firearms and that I was in violation of that. I responded and told him that while I understood that policy, it was not enforceable as it was in violation of state law. I quoted parts of section 18.33 of Idaho state firearms code and article II of the state constitution. We continued going back and forth for a few mins until about 3:45. At this point officer Orton (the contact officer) asked if we could go outside or into a differant room so that we didn't create a disturbance to the other patrons of the library. I told him I was fine with that as my intention was not to create a problem in the first place.

We walked outside where I continued to discuss the law and the pre-emption statutes with the officers. Patriot also walked out and stood at a little distance away observing. After a few mins of talking another guy who Patriot and I know showed up and handed Patriot a recorder. The rest of the conversation is on record but I have not listened to it so I can't transcribe it.

At about 3:55 I asked Officer Orton to call his supervising officer so I could talk to him. He responded in affirmative and they called the lieutenant on duty and asked him to come down. As we were waiting, Patriot approached the officers and held out a cell phone to them. He informed them that Senator Kurt Mackenzie was on the phone and wanted to speak with the officer in charge. Officer Orton took the phone and began a lengthy conversation with the senator. During this time he was mostly out of ear shot and I ended discussing law and firearm carry with another officer. (Unfortunately I don't recall his name) This officer was very nice and professional. We discussed campus carry and the VT shootings and the officer expressed his support for the right of students to carry on campus.

At some point the Lieutenant showed up and began talking with Officer Orton who was still on the phone with Senator Mackenzie. Soon after they called the city attorney and were all four attempting to decipher the law. Officer Orton pulled out his copy of the Boise City Municpal Code and showed me the section he was referencing which did indeed state that the carry of firearms in Boise Public Buildings was prohibited. I simply pointed out that regardless of that fact it was in conflict with state law and thus was un-enforceable.

At about 4:20 Senator Mackenzie asked to speak with me. He informed me that as far as they understood I was completely legal in my carry and they were simply trying to ascertain whether the library had any authority to ask me to leave the property. After talking with him for a few more mins I handed the phone back to the officers and let them continue their discussion.

About 5 mins later Officer Orton returned and told me that while he knew it was legal for me to do so, he was still talking with the City Attorney to find out if I was trespassing or not. He then asked if I would be willing to not re-enter the library for about an hour so that they could have some time to figure the law out. I told him that due simply to his professional attitude and the fact that he had acted decently I would comply with his request under the condition that he took down my contact information and called me the moment he knew anything. I then gave him my cell phone number, my home number and my full name (note that he never asked me to identify myself. I gave the information to him voluntarily)

He then handed me his business card and said he would call me as soon as he heard back from the city. The lieutenant approached me about a min later and Patriot and I began a discussion with him. He was very polite and respectful and seemed genuinely interested in clearing things up. After talking with him for about 10 mins Patriot and I walked over to talk to our other friend.

A few mins later (approx. 4:40) I started to walk to my car only to have Officer Orton call out to me. He explained that he had just received confirmation from the city attorney that I was completely correct and that the city code was indeed in violation of the law. He thanked me for my cooperation and the education oppurtunity that it had offerd the BPD. He then told me that they would be having an emergency briefing the next morning to let all of the Boise Police Department know the OC in public buildings in Boise is perfectly legal regardless of the policies. He then told me that if I had any more probblems to call him immediately and that he would make sure that the library was informed of the correct law. I thanked him again for his proffesionalism, shook his hand and told him that if he needed my assistance in anything else or needed to talk to me at any point to feel free to call me. We both wished each other a good day and I departed to my car (I had somewhere to be at 5 PM)

The entire encounter was over at about 4:45 PM and we got 52 mins of it on the voice recorder. I'll try and see about uploading the audio at some point.

All in all I consider this a very positive encounter. The LEO's were proffesional and interested in making sure they had the correct law. They were friendly, personable, and generally supported the rights of citizens to carry. And they were quick to acknowledge that they were in the wrong and were thankful for the legal educational experience. Hopefully this will not be a probblem anymore in the city of Boise now that BPD is going to be issuing a training bulletin and will be informing the department of the correct laws.


~The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that's good"~ -- George Washington

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April 30, 2008, 03:17 PM
Great story, and this individual was very lucky he dealt with such professional officers.

Standing Wolf
April 30, 2008, 03:41 PM

One of the reasons I carry openly a lot of the time is that I'm ready, willing, and able to stand up for the right to keep and bear arms.

The Bill of Rights doesn't refer to the "right to keep and bear arms except when it offends public servants." It refers to the right to keep and bear arms.

April 30, 2008, 03:45 PM
Wow.. someone needs to email that to Fancy Nancy in Moscow Idaho...

April 30, 2008, 03:53 PM
very nice! Thats the kind of OC sory I like to hear (with the excepton of the "I OC'd and NOTHING happened. no one seemed to notice" ones. those I like a lot too.;))

My question is, how was this municpal code, that the city attorney knew (or should have, that's is job) violated state law, ever passed? If it was on the books before state pre-emption was passed, that make a little more sense, but still, dont the taxpayers pay these people to see that thier laws are legal and enforceable? That doesnt sound like its too much to expect, or is out of line, to me.Also, I find it hard to beleive that when pre-emption passed, no one thought to check to make sure they didnt have any conflicting laws on the books,if they didnt know it already. For example, isnt it the city attorney's job by definition, to know what the cities laws are? Sounds like they tried to pull a scam and hope it went unnoticed, or they are just horribly incompetant. Neither one would surpise me when it comes to govt.,but neither makes them look to good either.

Deacon Blues
April 30, 2008, 04:25 PM
So, the moral of the story is that we all need to move to Boise. :cool:

That was a good read. It was certainly an ideal situation, far from the norm. Regardless, it shows what we as citizens can actually do to enforce our rights.

April 30, 2008, 04:44 PM
Retirement in Boise is certainly looking like a better option all the time. Plus, I have family (brother in law and nephews) out there, so convincing the wife wouldn't be all that hard.

Can you imagine if this had happened in a place like New York City or Chicago? We'd likely be talking about a guy who tried to open carry in a library who was shot more than 40-50 times by the cops, after they beat him up and took his firearm away. OK, that's a little overboard. Sorry.

April 30, 2008, 05:06 PM
In general Boise area LEOs are very nice and pro carry. The Sheriff's Office teaches a free three hour course on the aspects of deadly force in which the officers BEG citizens not only to get their CWL but to carry every day. Idaho is a great place to live and very gun friendly, a lot like Alaska but warmer :).

My question is, how was this municipal code, that the city attorney knew (or should have, that's is job) violated state law, ever passed?

" SB1381 will codify into law that no county, city, or local government body can regulate the sale, acquisition, transfer, carry, and storage of firearms, adding them to the existing points of preemption. The bill will also make clear that ammunition and firearm components are only to be regulated by the State of Idaho, not by local entities." (NRA-ILA)

SB1381 would have allowed campus carry which faced too much opposition so it was removed and the rest became SB1441 signed 03/28.

April 30, 2008, 05:06 PM
Very nice. It sounds like things were handled well, both by the citizen carrying and by the police.

April 30, 2008, 05:20 PM
Good deal!

I am impressed that the situation was handled so well. I don't know if I could have acted with that calm confidence. Of course, I doubt that the local cops here would have handled this with the calm confidence displayed by these Boise officers, either.

April 30, 2008, 05:27 PM
I thought they were going to gut 1381...

At least that is what the U of I president wanted in Moscow Idaho..

April 30, 2008, 05:30 PM
The moral of the story is that this encounter was carefully planned.

The actor had a teammate, who had a state senator ready to go. They had a game plan--they were not shooting from the hip.


April 30, 2008, 05:35 PM
Nice work. Yeah, having a State Senator on-call is a good way to get things straightened out quickly.

April 30, 2008, 05:46 PM
I thought they were going to gut 1381...

Sorry, they did remove the campus carry portion and the remaining preemption stuff became 1441 which was signed 03/28.

April 30, 2008, 07:47 PM
It seems that things worked out well. One city down, many more to go...

Jolly Rogers
April 30, 2008, 08:05 PM
What a difference the way this issue was handled compared with Philadelphia Pa. and that city's attempt to overrule the state.

April 30, 2008, 08:16 PM
That was an awesome story. I think the audio will provide an interesting listen.

April 30, 2008, 09:02 PM
Please Please Please! Can you guys bottle whatever the police were drinking and ship it to NJ so I can dump it in the water supply?

A very well documented event thanks for posting.

April 30, 2008, 09:28 PM
My question is, how was this municpal code, that the city attorney knew (or should have, that's is job) violated state law, ever passed?

in most states, it is totally legal for a city to pass a law the violates state law... it is only after they enforce it that it becomes a problem... look at what philly just did with their gun laws...

the guy is lucky that he didnt spend 2 days in the city jail trying to explain the situation instead of doing it on the sidewalk like that...

April 30, 2008, 11:10 PM
Good post and thank you!


May 1, 2008, 01:31 AM
Good job of dealing with this in a reasonable manner hitbackfirst!

Kind of Blued
May 1, 2008, 02:10 AM
The kicker would have been canceling that thing he had to do at 5PM and going back in to the library and politely educating the 55-65 year old library employee on the law after being approached again. :)

May 1, 2008, 02:22 AM
Just some clarification ...

As I stated in the original post I was not involved in this incident. I am just posting this information here so that more people can know about it.

If you want to reply to the people involved, please post on the original thread ( on the Idaho Forum (


May 1, 2008, 02:58 AM
I am going to bring a copy of this into the Idaho Falls sheriff's department to their take on this.

Having a laminated cheat sheet in my wallet would be the thing to have? Anyone know more about the background of these statutes?

Jacka L Ope
May 1, 2008, 04:12 AM
Great read. Thanks!

May 1, 2008, 04:32 AM
chalk one up for the gun toters.

May 1, 2008, 05:12 AM
This guy was lucky he wasn't arrested and thrown into jail. The police went above and beyond here. I am not knocking the post, just that I know several police officers who would say "talk about it in court".

I am also curious how the OP had the State Senator on speed dial. How did he get involved? The reason I ask is that I'd LOVE to see my state senator get called for something like this (Dick Saslaw in VA).

May 1, 2008, 10:43 PM
tinygnat219, I don't how he got the senator on the phone, I will tell you that I have had dinner with state legislators here in Idaho. Considering this senator appears to have authored this bill, he probably would jump at the chance to put it to action.

On the cops being to polite, I think animal control makes them look like lambs. This is the only place I have been pulled over and got only a warning. It's about time the good guys are on the side of the good guys.

The reason this young guy wasn't harassed any more, is because he demonstrated that he knew what he was talking about, while showing respect.

May 1, 2008, 11:40 PM
I don't how he got the senator on the phone

If I know/remember correctly Patriot (mentioned in the post and called by the poster Saint) was one of the citizens behind the new preemption law authored by Senator Mackenzie. Because of this he had Mackenzies direct contact information.

Saint and Patriot are well known open carry people here in the Boise area among a few others. Saint has a OC log posted at the same forums and this is the first time something like this has happened. Most of the time if anything bad the store just asks him to leave (Joe's Sporting Goods). Other then that it has been either not noticed or positive experiences.

So this wasn't just some random act of going to the library because of the new law. Saint has been OCing for a while now in his normal day to day life, according to his OC log experiences, which on this day included the library.

Because of their work (Saint, Patriot, IdahoCorsair, and a few others) Cabela's and Sportsman's Warehouse have changed their OC policy at Boise stores allowing us to carry. Joes Sporting Goods pushed back and thus we don't shop there any longer.

Far as the city code goes, the portion about city property has actually been on the books for quite a while, but this is the first time that I have heard of it attempting to be enforced...cooincidentally just a few weeks after that city code got struck down by the new law.

No I don't know any of the people involved personally but I pay attention to the OC/CCW issues in the Boise area.

May 1, 2008, 11:48 PM
The Sheriff's Office teaches a free three hour course on the aspects of deadly force in which the officers BEG citizens not only to get their CWL but to carry every day.

I can attest to that. The deputy that taught my class basically said it's not only your right but it's your duty because the police can't be everywhere at once.

May 1, 2008, 11:55 PM
Did sportsman's have a no carry policy there? The policy here in Idaho Falls is to unload before you come in if you plan on removing a hand gun from a holster; otherwise, carry on. I don't carry all the time, but when I do, I carry just about everywhere. I get looks, but that is it.

I was stopped outside of Fish and Game Monday, a biologist asked me to leave my revolver in the car; I obliged.

May 2, 2008, 12:03 AM
Did sportsman's have a no carry policy there?

Think in SW's case it was just confusion over their signs but no problems I've read about OC in practice and I personally have OCed there with no problems.

Sage of Seattle
May 2, 2008, 01:38 AM
Idaho is a great place to live and very gun friendly, a lot like Alaska but warmer .

That's what I keep telling people on THR, but it's always texasthis and texasthat.... :neener:

May 2, 2008, 02:16 AM
That guy really knew his way around the laws. I have to study up and learn my local laws so that I can be like him.

I heard something about Wisconsin allowing open carry and about there being an open carry protest happening. Does anybody know about that? Perhaps we can get the ball rolling on allowing concealed carry in that state, putting Illinois under the microscope even more as to why they don't allow their citizens to defend themselves.

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