The BCHRTF is grateful to the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy & Protection for bringing to the attention of our community the laws and constitutional provisions that bar private military activity. Most of us were unaware of these statutes.
We are also grateful to ICAP for their willingness to consult with Bonner County and Sandpoint officials about how best to ensure that future protests remain peaceful and free from unlawful military activity.
We do not know whether the idea of a lawsuit is even on the table at this time. However, we feel that there is no necessity for taking such action at this time. With the exception of some protesters and citizens feeling intimidated and scared, the days of the protests proceeded peacefully. We feel that our mayor and police chief were right in assuming good intentions on the part of both the protestors and the “protectors.” What happened in Sandpoint was far different than what happened in Charlottesville.
However, this situation has created tension and widened the rift between individuals with different beliefs about safety, and what it takes for everyone in the community to feel safe. Some believe that guns ensure safety. For others, the presence of guns, especially displayed in a military fashion, makes them feel un-safe. It is our hope that we can focus on actions that can bridge that gap and help to bring us all closer together. It is equally important to honor both the First and Second Amendment and to understand the laws that support them. Another lawsuit at this time would only further the division that already exists.
It is very important that we all understand what our Idaho Constitution and Laws prescribe. Hopefully ICAP can help us all be educated, and this knowledge of the law will help to keep future protests peaceful – knowing there is legal recourse available if they are not. It is important that this option remain available.
We wish to thank the City and the Council for reviewing carefully their options at this time—to abide by existing laws and promote respect for all community members.
This is a difficult balance.