BCHRTF is doing something about Senat Bill 1007: Find the letter written by the co presidents below, along with more email addesses to send a letter of your own.
January 31, 2023
To: Idaho State Legislature – State Affairs Committee
Re: SB 1007
The Bonner County Human Rights Task Force, BCHRTF, celebrated it’s 30th Anniversary last year, and currently represent over 500 members. We would like to go on record as opposing Senate Bill 1007.
In the summer of 2020 we experienced armed, self-appointed and non-regulated militia members patrolling our streets in downtown Sandpoint.
This was prompted by “Black Lives Matter” demonstrations that took place, initiated largely by students of Sandpoint High School.
The rumor was spread that “Antifa” was coming to destroy businesses in Sandpoint. Supposedly, they were coming in buses and were amassing piles of bricks to throw through windows. There was never any sign that rumor was true. No busloads of “Antifa” ever showed up.
The armed men who did appear were the “Militia” members, stating they were there to protect their town. However, they also followed and harassed the young people engaged in the demonstrations.
The Task Force received many calls from alarmed citizens. They didn’t know what to expect, as no one was in charge of these groups of armed individuals. It was truly an “unregulated militia,” and was frightening for that very reason.
In response to that incident and the threat of others like it, the Task Force composed an open letter to our local law enforcement officials which reaffirmed our confidence in them to protect our community, and encouraged them to take "a firm legal stance against groups who would unlawfully seek to intimidate our neighbors and visitors." The letter was signed by over 440 community members. We are including a link to that letter here, as we believe it is relevant to your consideration of SB 1007": https://www.bchrtf.org/open-letter-to-law-enforcement
We also met with local law enforcement at that time to represent the concerns of the many citizens who had contacted us. We support local law enforcement and rely on them to keep us safe. We want them to be safe as well, and the existence of the law mentioned above was something that makes us all safer.
The BCHRTF has researched the legal status of militias according to Idaho statute. We learned that an Idaho law prohibits unauthorized paramilitary organizations that are not accountable to state or federal authorities. This law has been in existence since 1927.
We also learned that existing law is not in any way a violation of First or Second Amendment rights.
Citizens of our region are once again alarmed – this time by Senate Bill 1007! We have experienced armed men marching through our town who were not accountable to any one but themselves.
The Supreme Court has ruled that laws, like what this bill seeks to repeal, are “necessary to the public peace, safety and good order.”
Please do NOT pass Senate Bill 1007.
Brenda Hammond, Linda Navarre, co-presidents
Bonner County Human Rights Task Force.
ADDRESSES FOR SENATE STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
Joyce Brewer <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Senator Jim Guthrie <JGuthrie@senate.idaho.gov>; Senator Treg Bernt <TBernt@senate.idaho.gov>; Senator Chuck Winder <email@example.com>; Senator Kelly Anthon <KAnthon@senate.idaho.gov>; Senator Mark Harris <MHarris@senate.idaho.gov>; Senator Abby Lee <ALee@senate.idaho.gov>; Senator Ben Toews <BToews@senate.idaho.gov>; Senator Melissa Wintrow <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Senator James Ruchti <JRuchti@senate.idaho.gov>