Whidbey News-Times


Departure was about bringing attention to gun issue | Sound Off

January 20, 2013 · Updated 3:57 PM

My decision to excuse myself from the Jan. 15 City Council meeting was not done in protest of a citizen’s rights to “bear arms” as those rights are outlined in the Second Amendment of our Constitution.

Rather, it was my effort to bring attention to the fact that, although the state has “pre-empted” local governments from regulating this subject, the state legislature has not bothered to consider the importance of precluding the possession of firearms in places like public parks or city hall.

Currently, state law does preclude citizens from carrying firearms in places like jails or courts and related facilities.

So the issue is not whether possession of a gun in certain locations can be regulated; it’s a matter of which places state lawmakers are willing to regulate.

In view of the recent mass shootings, I think this is a subject that needs immediate attention.

I am not opposed to a person’s right to own a firearm or use a gun to protect themselves or others under lawful circumstances.

In fact, Article 24 of Washington’s Constitution provides that “[t]he right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired…”

But that is not the issue that the city council is trying to address or focus upon.

Common sense tells me that we need to take a hard look at whether the same reasons for restricting firearms from courthouses should apply to our public parks, playgrounds or the places where citizens gather to conduct government

Mr. Dudley and I agree that the safety of the citizens of our community is of utmost importance.

In furtherance of that goal, I believe that the state legislature should restrict the possession of guns in some public places; or at least permit local government to address those issues if doing so passes constitutional muster.

Simple as that.

Rick Almberg
Oak Harbor City Councilman


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