Coeur d’Alene, Idaho pens support for rights of armed citizens
Staff Writer | June 6, 2020 1:09 AM
A Friday afternoon letter signed by Mayor Steve Widmyer and the Coeur d’Alene City Council expressed support for the rights of armed citizens who have been patrolling downtown since Monday.
“It’s tough,” said Councilman Dan Gookin, “because the cops want to stay neutral. The cops want to do their job. We are the ones who take positions on this. But everyone’s been behaving marvelously. There’s been a lot of people downtown — I’m going to call them ‘militia,’ because I don’t know what else to call them. There’s been a lot of militia downtown, and they’ve been acting responsibly.”
Rumors of the left-wing anti-fascist protest movement Antifa coming to Coeur d’Alene drew hundreds of men and women with firearms to the downtown district in the past four days. They said they were there to protect businesses and the rights of Black Lives Matter protesters.
Protests over the death of George Floyd have swept cities across the country, sometimes leading to violence, property damage and looting.
Gookin said city officials have been getting emails over the past few days from citizens who are concerned about people openly carrying rifles and handguns on Sherman Avenue.
“I know there’s a lot of people who are uncomfortable and don’t feel safe,” Gookin said. “We’ll never know if the militia dissuaded outside agitators from coming here. But they behaved very well, and nothing happened to our town.”
Those calls of concern to City Hall led the council and Widmyer to collaborate and craft the message showing support for Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White, the Coeur d’Alene Police Department and the armed response.
Councilwoman Kiki Miller said she was encouraged by the unified message.
“The entire council has confidence in our local law enforcement agencies to manage these situations,” she said.
The full text of the letter at CDA PRESS