South Idaho county to allow loaded guns in parks

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) - Twin Falls County officials in south-central Idaho are working on a new ordinance that will allow loaded guns in county parks.

The Times-News reports in a story on Thursday that commissioners say the move is needed to bring county laws in line with state law.

Workers have already removed signs prohibiting firearms from Rock Creek Park, said Commissioner Terry Kramer, noting that the county's lawyers agreed that the county code wasn't in compliance with state law.

The new ordinance doesn't allow the firing of guns in county parks except in self-defense.

Commissioners decided to make the change after a group called Idaho Second Amendment Alliance told the county its law conflicted with a 2008 state law giving the state control of gun regulations.

"Essentially, Idaho has pre-emption over firearms ordinances," said Greg Pruett, head of the gun-rights group. "Cities (and) counties can't ban someone from carrying just because they want to."

A Twin Falls resident sent the group photos of the signs in the park banning guns, Pruett said. The ban might have been sparked by concerns about hunting in the park, which isn't allowed, he said.

"They're allowed to regulate that hunting, but they're not allowed to say 'no firearms allowed,' " Pruett said.

The county is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the planned new ordinance on Friday. "The commissioners down there have been extremely helpful," Pruett said.

The group has contacted more than a dozen Idaho communities concerning gun laws that are stricter than state law, he said. One is in Burley, Pruett said, where an ordinance bans firing a gun with city limits but doesn't have a self-defense exemption.

He hasn't received a response from the city and plans to contact officials there again next week, he said.

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Information from: The Times-News