Exclusive: Oak Harbor Coucilman Rick Almberg stands by attempted gun banon February 6, 2013 @ 12:33 pm (Updated: 5:31 pm - 2/6/13 )
Hundreds came to the latest City Council meeting, on the city's gun laws, which ban gun from city parks. Many of them carried guns in support of their Second Amendment rights. The Council repealed the law, which they found was not consistent with the Washington State constitution.
"At that particular time I was going to exercise my First Amendment right to protest the ridiculousness of our state law," said Almberg.
He said he wasn't trying to do anything illegal by advocating for keeping guns out of city parks. He just wasn't in a hurry to change a law he thought was appropriate and safe.
But the Second Amendment Foundation said they would sue the Oak Harbor City Council if they didn't change the law, which they said was a violation of the Washington State constitution.
"When that came to us, it was right immediately after the Sandy Hook issue," said Councilman Almberg, "and I reacted to that by saying I cannot believe that we're going to sit here and say yes, it's okay to do that - even though our City Attorney said that state law preempts the city ordinance that prohibits weapons in our park."
For Dori it wasn't just a matter of protest.
"Isn't it your job, Councilman," asked Dori, "to uphold the constitution rather than pick and choose the parts you agree with?"
The Councilman didn't think he violated the constitution - or his oath of office - in any way. They just "chose to not take any action" when they delayed repealing the unconstitutional city ordinance after several meetings on the subject.
And when army veteran Lucas Yonkman spoke about carrying a gun for protection during a City Council meeting on January 15, Councilman Almberg decided to make a point with his motion to take Yonkman's gun away.
Yonkman was shocked. He doesn't just carry for personal protection, but to protect the people around him. He's never pulled his gun in anger. He said that some police officers have told him that he has better training than they do.
But to Councilman Almberg it's not a matter of training.
"When people are armed in council chambers," said Almberg, "it intimidates other people to participate."
He says it's an "unfair advantage" and that guns could be used to intimidate people with unpopular or minority opinions.
When the motion failed, he says that he walked out in protest.
Although he doesn't want guns in city parks, the Councilman said that he doesn't want to ban guns completely. He just doesn't buy the "good guys with guns" argument.
"I don't need vigilantes to protect me," said Almberg.
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