The Idaho 2nd Amendment Alliance’s Gun Rights Rally was held Saturday in Downtown Boise, and people from North Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Utah and California gathered in Boise to state their case about gun rights.
The rally, which has taken place annually since 2012, was meant as a response to the March For Our Lives protests that occurred around the nation (and in Boise) in March, one month after a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead.
Rallygoers began the march at Fort Boise Park and ended at the steps of the Capitol. There were nearly 1,000 people participating, Idaho 2nd Amendment Alliance president Greg Pruett estimated.
The overarching belief by marchers was that increased gun regulation won’t prevent mass shootings from occurring.
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“It’s a very emotional topic. It’s a very difficult topic for people to sit down and have a conversation and not have it turn into a shouting match,” Pruett said. “(But) the bad guys don’t care about the laws. They’re going to do whatever they want.”
Once at the Capitol, a trio of speakers took the stage. The most well-known was Ammon Bundy, an anti-government activist and Emmett resident who staged an armed occupation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon in 2016.
“This is the liberty, the freedom, the justice we sing about in our national anthem and celebrate on the Fourth of July,” Bundy said. “The Second Amendment makes it legal for us to defend our freedoms.”
Another speaker, attorney Alexandria Kincade, spoke about gun rights and Red Flag Laws. Since the events in Florida, several states have passed the laws, which allow firearms to be taken away from individuals who have shown previous violent tendencies.
“If we aren’t strong and we don’t know what we’re talking about, it could very well happen in Idaho,” Kincade said. “They think that if they pass another law against us, the law-abiding citizen, that somehow that’s going to stop the next school shooting. ... We don’t know who that next person is who is going to act out and cause harm in society. We can’t predict that. But we can defend ourselves, and you can’t take means to defend ourselves away from us, the law-abiding citizens.”
Marchers held signs and flags as they walked down Fort Street and eventually onto Jefferson Street. One marcher, Kathleen Moore, traveled an hour from Payette to take part in the event after reading about it yesterday.
“We aren’t comfortable being sitting ducks, and we’d like to have our guns to protect ourselves should a threat arise,“ said Moore, a gun owner for 30 years. “Hopefully it’ll never happen, but we want to be able to if we need it.”
Moore said that there is a misconception by those in favor of regulation about what gun owners do with their firearms, referencing Idaho’s “country” lifestyle and the use of guns for recreation.
“I think a lot of people aren’t educated and don’t live the life we live,” she said. “If you don’t live it, if you haven’t had it happen to you, it is something you don’t quite understand.”
A handful of Boise High School students attended the rally as counterprotesters, sharing their point of view that access to guns and the arming of teachers will not make classrooms safer.
“We’re basically sick and tired of going to school and being scared. Every day it crosses our mind what could happen at school and we risk it anyway,” junior Searra Ade said. “We want to make sure that people who are mentally ill or impaired or anything like that don’t have access to something that could kill somebody.
“If every teacher had a gun, there would be so many possibilities for a student to get a hold of that gun ... Just because teachers have guns doesn’t mean school shootings aren’t going to happen.”