Idaho lawmaker still allowed to carry concealed weapon despite lying about pleading guilty to rape

An Idaho lawmaker who had his concealed weapon permit revoked for lying about a long-ago guilty plea to rape can still legally carry a gun because his state exempts elected officials from the permit law.

State Rep. Mark Patterson (R-Boise) had his permit revoked after the Ada County sheriff discovered the lawmaker had lied twice, in 2007 and 2012, on his permit application by failing to disclose a 1974 guilty plea for assault with intent to commit rape in Florida.

Patterson said the plea deal, which resulted in withheld judgment, was the result of a “bizarre encounter” with a 46-year-old woman he claims "fabricated the incident because she was angry that I would not give her money.”

The woman told police that Patterson, then 21, forced her to have sex twice by threatening to have his doberman pinscher attack her.

Patterson claims the woman admitted to a private investigator hired by his family that she'd made up the incident, and he claims his memory of it was destroyed by 2003 chemotherapy treatment for the hepatitis C virus.

The first-year lawmaker, who was acquitted of rape three years later in an unrelated case in his hometown of Cincinnati, said the sheriff had targeted him for pushing a bill that would have outlined misdemeanor charges for law enforcement officers who enforce new federal gun-restriction laws that might be enacted.

Patterson accused the sheriff and Idaho Statesman reporter Dan Popkey of “a bare-knuckled campaign to intimidate me from serving the people of Idaho.”

“This whole thing is to silence me,” Patterson said.

Sheriff Gary Raney dismissed the lawmaker’s claims.

“The questions that Mr. Patterson raises and the allegations he makes are irrelevant to the fact that he lied on his initial application and his renewal application,” the sheriff said. “That and only that is the reason for our actions.”

Idaho residents must pass a background check and training course to obtain a concealed weapon permit, although a 1990 law exempts any elected official in the state – such as school board members, highway district commissioners and the governor.

Since then, lawmakers have exempted other government officials and employees, including jail guards.

But some lawmakers said the exemption looks like a double standard.

“I think the message it sends is that elected officials get perks, and when it comes to the Second Amendment, I think that’s particularly disturbing, because essentially, it’s saying we should have more ability to protect ourselves than the average citizen,” said Rep. Luke Malek (R-Coeur d’Alene).