A Republican lawmaker in Idaho has proposed an amendment to the state Constitution that would require all adults to be militia members in an effort to preserve their right to bear arms.
At a Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee on Wednesday, state Sen. Jim Rice (R) said that he feared that the U.S. Supreme Court would change the definition of the Second Amendment and allow the federal government to confiscate guns owned by individuals, according to The Associated Press.
But Rice argued that the federal government could never take away people’s guns if the Idaho Constitution was changed to make all adults members of the state militia as a “backstop.”
The Caldwell Republican hopes to let the voters decide on the amendment in the November 2014 election. Rice said that there was no issue that was more important to his constituents than gun rights.
Article XIV of the Idaho Constitution says that “[a]ll able-bodied male persons, residents of this state, between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years, shall be enrolled in the militia.” The section also provides an opportunity for conscientious objectors to opt-out of serving in the militia.
While Rice hasn’t offered specific language for his proposed amendment, he indicated that the age and gender requirements would be dropped, making all adults eligible for service.
“Today we held a print hearing on my proposed state constitutional amendment that will eliminate age and gender discrimination from our definition of the state militia,” the lawmaker wrote in a message posted to Twitter. “This will allow the state to backstop the individual right to keep and bear arms in an effective way that is supported by the reasoning in all the U.S. Supreme Court decisions.”
“We will actually run this concept next session since it needs to be on the 2014 general election ballot. The idea is that Idaho citizens get the opportunity to begin the discussion of this now.”
The National Rifle Association has endorsed Rice with an A rating. His Facebook page is filled with pro-gun postings, including a message about buying his wife handgun and videos of him shooting a fully-automatic Thompson submachine gun with his son earlier this year.
“The Thompson submachine gun is a very fun gun to shoot!” Rice wrote in a 2012 blog post.
Watch this video from Jim Rice’s Facebook page, uploaded Jan. 2013.