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Idaho Lawmaker Argues For Keeping Politician Exemption For Gun Permits

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Idaho state Rep. Vito Barbieri

Elected officials in Idaho do not need permits to carry concealed weapons.

A group of state legislators is considering ending that exemption. But one north Idaho lawmaker who recently found himself in the national spotlight said politicians need the provision for their safety.

Rep. Vito Barbieri said the public eye isn’t always a friendly one. Barbieri got his own 15 minutes of infamy last month after his comments at an abortion hearing went viral. Barbieri is anti-abortion and said he was the target of vitriol from people who disagreed with him.

“We are extremely visible,” Barbieri said. “And with instant media the way it is and everything else, the danger can be very profound for a very few days until things die off and I think we should have that freedom.”

The freedom to carry a concealed weapon without having to wait to get a permit first. Barbieri wants the exception he gets as an elected official to stay.

Some of Barbieri’s Republican colleagues are seeking to end that exception. They say politicians should have to follow the same rules as everyone else.

The new bill would also simplify how weapons are defined and clarify that people don’t need permits outside city limits.

The House State Affairs Committee voted to introduce the measure on Monday, with Barbieri and fellow north Idaho Republican Shannon McMillan opposed.