Northern Idaho has seen a number of protests in support of George Floyd.
With Antifa and other rioters across the country burning buildings and looting stores, some citizens were concerned the rioter’s efforts would spill over into Idaho. There were unconfirmed rumors that had spread claiming Antifa was making their way to northern Idaho to continue their mayhem.
A number of gun owners in places like Coeur d’Alene and Lewiston stood peacefully with or near protesters to prevent Idaho from a fate similar to that of cities in the state of Washington.
Some politicians in Idaho were not happy with the armed residents who were with or near the protesters.
Bob Blakey, a Lewiston City Council member, wants to pass a resolution to the Idaho state legislature which would give the city the ability to ban the open carrying of firearms during protests.
Blakey made the suggestion at the Lewiston City Council meeting on June 8th.
Blakey is likely to run into several issues in his effort to pass such a resolution. First, the Lewiston City Council by Blakey’s own admission doesn’t appear to support his effort.
Second, the state legislature has no regulatory power over the open carrying of firearms.
Idaho’s state constitution specifically gives the legislature the ability to regulate firearms that are concealed. It has long been interpreted that they do not have the ability to regulate open carry as a result of this specification.
Even changing Idaho’s firearm preemption statute (18-3302J) would not allow the city to regulate the possession of openly carried firearms.
Blakey, who has unsuccessfully run for both state legislature and county commissioner as a Democrat, had this to say to local media outlets:
“I see it through a different lens maybe than the Second Amendment group. I see it the same way we don’t allow smoking in bars, and we don’t allow you to walk into a store with no shirt and no shoes. There are a lot more of those types of sideboards we have on our rights,” Blakey said. “I’m not taking a right way from you going to a store if you have to wear a shirt and shoes. It’s a health issue.”
Even in the proposal were possible, it would be unlikely to go anywhere in Idaho’s Republican-dominated legislature.
Incoming Representative Aaron von Ehlinger (Republican – District 6) had this to say about Blakey’s proposal when he told Idaho Dispatch, “The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. I’m not sure what Democrats like Bob Blakey don’t understand about that. This sort of proposal might fly in Blakey’s home state of New York, but it will never fly in the great state of Idaho. As an Idaho State Representative, I will fight any and all gun control bills. End of story.”
Additionally, Rep. Mike Kingsley (Republican – District 6) also told Idaho Dispatch, “Bob tries to play both sides. He shows on his Facebook page that he is an antique gun enthusiast, but when it comes to protecting citizens, businesses, and liberty, he wants to stop our rights. One or the other Bob, you can’t have it both ways.”
Blakey’s proposal has also angered local 2nd Amendment supporters who are now seeking a recall of the city council member. As of this date, no official recall has been filed against Blakey.
However, Heather Rogers, who is leading the effort for the recall, told Idaho Dispatch that an official recall is coming. “We are in the process of filing and hope to have it complete in the next few weeks,” she said.
The group is also planning to protest at the next city council meeting in frustration over Blakey’s proposed resolution.
The Facebook event link has this in the description of the event:
“We will be meeting and protesting how our city counselor Bob Blakey wishes to infringe upon our 2A RIGHTS. Bob Blakey needs to be removed from city council. We will be rallying together in support of our 2A Rights during the city council’s next meeting. We the people WILL NOT allow people to trample upon our rights.”
Time will tell if the group will be successful in their efforts or if Blakey’s proposal will harm his future election efforts.
Idaho is a gun-friendly state and Blakey’s proposal also drew the ire of Idaho Second Amendment Alliance Chairman Seth Rosquist who told Idaho Dispatch, “Blakey is no friend of the 2nd Amendment. His proposal is not only unconstitutional but it is also irrational. The armed citizens who stood with protesters and against potential threats from Antifa and other radicals are a lot like your safety rules at work. No one realizes how important they are until they aren’t there.”
Rosquist also said that he would adamantly oppose any proposed gun control effort by Bob Blakey or any other politician in Idaho.
Tags: 2nd Amendment, Aaron von Ehlinger, Bob Blakey, Idaho, Idaho Second Amendment Alliance, Lewiston, Open Carry