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A study ranks Idaho among states with the weakest gun safety laws

There are more than 17 gun deaths per 100,000 residents in Idaho.
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There are more than 17 gun deaths per 100,000 residents in Idaho.

A new report ranks Idaho near the bottom among states for its laws on gun safety.

The organization Everytown for Gun Safety places Idaho 49th for the strength of its firearm laws. Of the 50 gun-related policies the group investigated, it said the state only has four policies in place, and Idaho's gun-violence rate is higher than the national average.

Jacqui Hamilton, volunteer state chapter co-lead for Moms Demand Action Idaho, which is associated with Everytown for Gun Safety, believes the Gem State can do better to protect people from gun violence.

"It's disheartening," Hamilton stated. "I grew up here, I grew up in Idaho; we moved here when I was 13 in 1982. My family has hunted. We've owned firearms in our house, but we also practice safety."

The report noted Idaho has the fourth-highest rate of gun ownership in the country, and also the fourth-highest rate of gun suicides. Groups supporting gun use and ownership argued laws restricting access violate Americans' Second-Amendment rights.

Hamilton countered there are laws on the books in other states Idaho lawmakers could pass to promote gun safety.

"We would like to see universal background checks on every gun sale," Hamilton asserted. "Right now, there are loopholes. We would like to keep firearms out of the hands of people who shouldn't have firearms, such as convicted domestic abusers."

She also pointed to a shooting at the Boise Towne Square mall last year which killed two people. The shooter had been convicted of felony theft in Illinois, but it did not bar him from having a gun under Idaho state law.

Idaho ranks above only Mississippi in the Everytown for Gun Safety report. The group identified California as first for the strength of its gun-safety laws.