The following Op-Ed was submitted by Christy Zito. Note: Op-eds do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of those at the Idaho Dispatch. Additionally, Zito works for the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance, for which Idaho Dispatch Editor serves as the President.
Recently, I read a news story where Idaho legislator Senator Melissa Wintrow (Democrat) was calling for the state capital to be a “gun-free” zone.
I find this not only ridiculous but quite insulting. I served in Idaho’s capitol building as a legislator for six years. I have never felt threatened or unsafe.
When I ran for office and was elected to my first term, my predecessor had just voted against the Constitutional Carry bill (2016) that ultimately passed and became law. His reasoning was that with everyone carrying a gun, there would be blood in the streets. He also stated on more than one occasion that he could “guarantee” that there would be a shooting at the capital. This has not happened.
I would estimate that 90% of Idaho legislators are armed all the time, including our female legislators. I would also estimate that many of the legislative advisors and lobbyists are also armed.
Having that many people armed and ready as our first line of defense is a good reason to feel safe at all times in the People’s House.
I want to stress that I have never felt threatened or in danger by the visitors to the capital, even by those whom I have strong disagreements with. I felt safe even before the last two years when there was often more law enforcement in the building than citizens.
I have felt great sadness over the fact that the bustling and noisy hallways during the legislative session are now comparatively quiet compared to past legislative sessions. I find it an insult to the people that the citizen engagement that was present during my first two terms in office has been discouraged to that point.
I have traveled to other state capitols and our nation’s capitol to find that one must pass armed guards and metal detectors to enter the building. Even the elected officials entering the building had to go through the same security measures.
To be able to enter our State House and carry your weapon open or concealed, handgun, long rifle, or any weapon of your choice, has been a mark of honor for our state. Idaho is purported to be the reddest state in the nation. The fact that our capitol building is open is a testament to that notion. The fact that legislators may cave to the left and their “feelings” is a testament to where we are going.
If the Second Amendment is important, you better know what is happening in your own backyard. The issues facing us nationally are important as well; just know to spread your focus. Don’t let your guard down on any level.
This is a battle for the heart, soul, and freedom of this state and country.
Idaho Second Amendment Alliance
Tags: 2nd Amendment, Christy Zito, Gun-Free Zone, Idaho Capitol Building, Melissa Wintrow