Both sides cite armed crowd in Snohomish in gun-bill debate

Both sides cite armed crowd in Snohomish in gun-bill debate

Armed citizens who declined to identify themselves stand vigil in Snohomish on June 1, 2020. The man said they were there to “keep business owners and businesses safe.” (Ian Davis-Leonard / Herald file) OLYMPIA — It’s been 10 months since armed citizens in downtown Snohomish triggered a fissure still present in the community. Back on May 31, into town to protect shop owners from a destructive “antifa” protest that never occurred. As the patrol became an alcohol-fueled party, . A week ago, in the midst of an impassioned debate on a state bill that would ban openly carrying guns at demonstrations, two Snohomish County lawmakers offered starkly different views of what transpired as they made their cases. Rep. April Berg, D-Mill Creek, argued for the ban, saying armed civilians can stifle the political speech and activism of others. “Intimidation, harassment and fear is not a victimless crime,” she said. “We cannot allow armed vigilantes to come into our beautiful downtowns, our beautiful streets, in the name of protecting something of which they do not value.” Rep. Robert Sutherland, R-Granite Falls, who opposed the bill, came next. “I was there. Vigilantes? Honest, hard-working, law-abiding citizens of Snohomish County who were following the law, who were in our opinion coming to the aid of law enforcement,” he said. “They were begging us for help.” Under the legislation, those same people could be told to put away their guns or face arrest, he said. It prevents peaceful assemblies of those wishing to […]

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