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Idaho State Rep. Lynn Luker (R-Boise) is not a “Tea Party Republican.” He has been in the state legislature for ten years and is often considered one of its more intellectual members. An attorney by trade, he often asks probing questions and is not infrequently a voice of dissent or caution on issues which most lawmakers support.

While his vote is not often a deciding one, especially on the very conservative House State Affairs Committee, he voted in favor of advancing SB 1389, the permitless carry bill. He explained his reasons for supporting it in a subsequent Facebook post.

Tough Decision On SB1389 – Permitless Concealed Carry. I voted today in State Affairs Committee to approve the bill. I received many emails and phone messages on both sides of this issue. Those views were also express in the committee hearing that we had today. Both sides had valid concerns from divergent perspectives regarding public safety. In the end, I was persuaded by the position expressed by our law enforcement officers on the street. Both the Idaho Sheriffs’ Association and the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) representing those officers who are on the front line supported the bill. The letter from FOP states:

“The Idaho Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) is the largest police organization in Idaho with over 1800 members statewide and we support Senate Bill 1389. The Idaho FOP believes that law abiding, mentally sound and responsible gun owners are our partners in keeping crime rates low in Idaho. We are grateful for the legislators, the National Rifle Association and the Idaho Firearms Alliance for working with the FOP addressing our concerns, and crafting a responsible piece of legislation that our members support.”

The Idaho Sheriffs’ Association expressed similar support. Testimony by the Sheriffs’ Association resolved concerns about their ability to identify those who are felons or otherwise restricted from possessing guns through their electronic data system ILETS and other means. There was no evidence that a higher occurrence of gun incidents have occurred in other states with permitless carry, or in Idaho since permitless carry has been allowed outside of cities. Based upon the support of our law enforcement officials, I was persuaded to support their judgment regarding the safety of our citizens.

While many of us might prefer an unapologetic, full-throated defense of our right to keep and bear arms, Luker’s more measured analysis is still welcome because it provides an excellent argument for those who are looking for pragmatic—rather than philosophical—reasons to support permitless carry.

We thank Rep Luker for his vote in favor of SB 1389 and for providing an explanation of the rationale behind his vote. More lawmakers should be so transparent.