Gun rights activists demand Lt. Gov. to apologize or resign

Gun rights activists demand Lt. Gov. to apologize or resign (PHOTO: KOMO News)

A gun rights group is demanding Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib either apologize or resign over his stance on weapons in the state Capitol. Gun owners rallied on the Capitol steps worried about gun control efforts.

"We need to start making a stand and we need to make it now because they will disarm each and every one of us," said gun rights advocate Nathan Virgil in a speech to 250 other gun owners. They brought their weapons and their concerns to the steps of the Capitol.

"I just think it's important as a woman to be able to have the right to carry and for everybody really," said gun owner Erin Volz.

Gun owners say that right is being threatened by the legislature including bills restricting access to large-capacity magazines and requiring training for concealed pistol licenses. Hearings on those and other bills are set for Monday and Tuesday.

"Definitely rights are being taken away," said gun owner Andrea Snoke. "But also I think there's a strong group of people who aren't being heard and it's very important to have our voice out there — especially as a woman."

Snoke and Volz openly carried their guns throughout the Capitol as they are allowed by law to do. But they cannot openly display weapons in hearings or in the galleries of the House and Senate.

But those with concealed carry permits can have them everywhere except the Senate gallery by order of the Lt. Governor. "It's not about right versus left," said Habib. "But we are in a heightened moment of violence and threats and so I think it's important to look at how best to keep people safe here."

And since the House does allow concealed weapons in the gallery he chose to not preside over the Governor's 'State of the State' address in the House Tuesday which drew an immediate demand from a gun rights group.

"It would be appropriate for him to apologize or give up," said Boyd Kneeland, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. "If he doesn't want to do the job, if he's really so afraid of the people he represents he should resign."

"Not doing either of those today," said Habib. "But would love it if they would accept my invitation to come here and meet with me to talk about these things."

No word on any meeting yet. The Lt. Governor said he would like talks to begin over whether metal detectors should be installed in the state Capitol like they were in 2005 and taken out a year later.

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