They’re Packing Heavy In The Gem State!

By Dave Workman

Whatever else they say about Idaho it’s “gun country,” which should come as no surprise to anybody who ever heard of Elmer Keith, Jack O’Connor or Ernest Hemingway.

Those guys all became famous to one degree or another as “gun people.” All three were prolific writers and while Hemingway became a literary legend for his novels and short stories, he was an avid hunter. The other two earned legendary status in their own right specifically as shooters and hunters.

Of the three, Keith was by far the “handgunner’s handgunner,” father of the .44 Magnum, author of several classic gun-specific books and someone you wouldn’t dare challenge to a long-range handgun shooting contest. So, when the Insider Online learned the following, it occurred to us that Keith’s spirit is probably grinning ear-to-ear from the top of a ridge overlooking his home in Salmon.

Recently, the Idaho Statesman took a look at concealed carry in the Gem State. It is among the most well-armed pieces of landscape west of the Mississippi River. Early in December, there were 131,655 active concealed carry permits, which represents an impressive 8 percent of the Idaho population. Twenty-one percent of those permits were of the “enhanced” variety, meaning that they completed eight hours of training that includes learning the state’s firearms laws including the use of lethal force, live fire and safety training.

That’s 27,243 enhanced permits we’re talking about; more are being sought every day. With one of these enhanced permits, a citizen can carry concealed on public college campuses in the state.

Back in January 2013, there were only 85,535 licensed adults. That means that over the past three years, more than 46,000 permits have been issued in Idaho.

This hardly compares with the numbers in neighboring Washington, where there are more than 566,000 concealed pistol licenses in circulation. Washington has no training requirement, but training courses seem to always be full.

Idaho is also an open carry state. It is not unusual in some parts of Idaho, which stretches north from the high desert country of the upper Snake River drainage to the Selkirk Mountains and Canadian border, to see someone strolling around with a sidearm on their belt. Nobody treats it like a big deal.

Idaho honors permits/licenses from all other states. Details are available at

Ruger’s Newest GP100 in .44 Special

A handgun that will be right at home in Idaho, or anywhere else for that matter, is Ruger’s GP100 chambered in .44 Special; coincidentally debuting on the 30th anniversary of this famous revolver’s introduction.

It’s been getting lots of attention on social media, and rightfully so. It’s a stainless steel beauty with a 3-inch barrel, five-round un-fluted cylinder, Hogue Monogrip, adjustable rear sight and green fiber optic front sight.

This new Ruger will not only be a good sidearm for person defense on the mean streets, but in the West, where there are plenty of things with teeth and claws once anybody gets off the pavement or even the gravel, having five rounds of .44 Special in a rugged launch platform just might come in handy.

With advances in today’s ammunition, the .44 Special is no slouch when it comes to stopping power.

‘Assault Weapon’ Bill In WA Includes Handguns

While Idaho is very friendly to armed citizens, the gun prohibition lobby — with its millions of dollars of support by wealthy Seattle-area elitists — is getting bolder in neighboring Washington.

At a December rally attended by about three-dozen people in Olympia, the state capitol, they talked about a bill draft that would ban so-called “assault weapons.” Of particular interest to AH readers, the definition of an “assault weapon” applies to semi-auto pistols that accept a detachable magazine and have one or more of the following features: Any feature capable of functioning as a protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand; A threaded barrel, capable of accepting a flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer (emphasis added); A shroud attached to the barrel, or that partially or completely encircles the barrel, allowing the bearer to hold the firearm with the nontrigger hand without being burned, but excluding a slide that encloses the barrel; or, The capacity to accept a detachable magazine at any location outside of the pistol grip.

That bit about threaded barrels will bring Evergreen State handgunners out of the woodwork. Thousands of them own pistols that have threaded barrels. Those guns were purchased over the past few years since silencers were legalized in the state. People use them at indoor and outdoor ranges, for predator control in populated areas and other purposes for which noise could be a problem.

The proposed ban is backed by Democrat state Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

Change Of Command At Pro-Gun Physicians’ Group

When he founded Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership back in 1994, Dr. Tim Wheeler was like a salmon swimming upstream with bent fins, since the prevailing attitude in the medical profession seemed to be decidedly anti-gun.

Wheeler’s influence has been significant, however. DRGO is now a project of the Second Amendment Foundation, and Wheeler is stepping aside as head of the group’s day-to-day operations. In September, when he announced the impending change, he introduced the folks who will taking over the reins. They are Project Director Arthur Przebinda, MD; Executive Editor Robert B. Young, MD; Membership Director John Edeen, MD; and Outreach Director Sean Brodale, DO.

‘Pardon me, Mr. President’

Let’s see if we have this straight.

Departing President Barack Obama is heading for the door, but in his wake he is leaving a bunch of commutations and pardons for people who have been doing time. In the mix of people whose sentences have been commuted were 42 with firearms offenses. So, while he’s been advocating for stricter and more widespread “universal background checks” on honest gun owners — essentially treating them as if they were guilty until they prove themselves innocent — Obama is being lenient with real criminals.

During his time in the White House, the president has commuted at least 1,176 sentences, including 395 people who had been sentenced to life behind bars. He has also pardoned at least 148 people at this writing, and he still has some time left in office.

Deputy Attorney General said the president has “given a second chance to over 1,100 inmates who have paid their debt to society.”

Just for the record, Obama trails his predecessor, George W. Bush, who pardoned 189 people, and Bill Clinton, who issued 396 pardons, according to the Washington Examiner.

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