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Oak Harbor Councilman Rick Almberg faces backlash after proposing gun ban


It was alright for Lucas Yonkman to carry a weapon in Afghanistan, but Oak Harbor Councilman Rick Almberg thought it was inappropriate when he brought a licensed gun to a City Council meeting.

Now the Councilman's attempt to take away Lucas's gun has prompted backlash from gun rights advocates, and the mayor of Oak Harbor himself.

Lucas, an Army veteran who served for a year and was wounded by an IED in Afghanistan, told the Dori Monson Show that he carries a gun every day for protection; he has a concealed carry permit.

Lucas said that he didn't even plan on speaking at the meeting, but that he wanted to show the Council that it wasn't just dangerous people who carry guns. He was speaking in response to a city ordinance banning guns from city parks.

That city ordinance is illegal. In October the City Council got a letter from the Second Amendment Foundation that told them the law was in conflict with the Washington State constitution.

Changing the illegal ordinance was first addressed at a December 18 meeting, but was tabled by Council members. At the next meeting several people came to support the change, openly carrying guns. It was that last meeting on January 15 that Councilman Almberg proposed a motion targeting Lucas Yonkman's concealed weapon.

After hearing Lucas talk about carrying a gun, Almberg tried to pass a resolution to take it away.

"Well, I'm going to make a motion: if we have somebody who is in the chambers armed, it is not necessary. I'll make a motion that we ask them to check their weapon with the police chief," said Councilman Almberg at the meeting. "Or to leave the premises."

When the motion didn't pass, Almberg walked out of the meeting.

Lucas told the Dori Monson Show that he was surprised that Councilman Almberg targeted him with the motion.

"I kind of told everyone that I was trained with a weapon so they would be comfortable around me," said Yonkman. "I was glad that the motion didn't pass, and that they didn't try to put law enforcement in a place where they would be breaking the law by attempting to disarm me."

It wasn't illegal to carry a weapon in the building, and Lucas said he wasn't carrying his gun openly because he didn't want to make anyone uncomfortable: his weapon was strictly for personal protection.

"I had an issue with that," Oak Harbor Mayor Scott Dudley told Dori. "That will not prevent the individual whom is going to commit a crime or unlawful act from barging in and taking us out."

Mayor Dudley called Lucas a hero, first for his military service, and secondly for standing up for his and others' second amendment rights. He disagreed with Councilman Almberg's response to Lucas.

"You don't walk out of a City Council meeting," said Mayor Dudley. "You still have a job to do."

Dori thought Councilman Almberg's questions sounded like an interrogation.

And to Dori the whole story was absurd: Councilman Almberg thought it was fine for Lucas to carry a gun and risk his life in Afghanistan, but objects to Lucas legally carrying a gun at home, after undergoing extensive training and background checks.

And Dori observed that Yonkman's motivation for carrying a weapon was the same in Oak Harbor as it was overseas: to protect himself and anyone else in the room who might be threatened.

Jillian Raftery, KIRO Radio Editor
Jillian Raftery is an afternoon editor at KIRO Radio. She loves the neighborly vibe of the Pacific Northwest and spends as much time as possible outdoors.
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