Adams eyes weapons ban

Current ordinance prohibits weapons at parade, festivals

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COEUR d'ALENE - Playing off the momentum of the Idaho State Legislature, Coeur d'Alene City Councilman Steve Adams wants to eliminate a local weapons ordinance.

The ordinance he wants to eliminate bans weapons at parades and festivals within the city limits of Coeur d'Alene.

"It was brought to my attention a while back," Adams said Monday. "I thought 'why not continue this momentum to bolster the Second Amendment and eliminate this ordinance?'"

Adams was referring to the Legislature's recent passage of a law that would allow citizens with enhanced concealed weapons permits to carry guns on Idaho's college campuses.

On Monday, Adams took the issue to the city's General Services Committee. That committee is a subset of the city council and screens most issues before they come to the city council for consideration.

Adams, who sits on the committee with council members Amy Evans and Ron Edinger, said he thinks the law is unconstitutional and unnecessary.

"I don't want some poor guy with a concealed weapon attending a parade to be subject to a misdemeanor," he said, adding the law has really never been enforced.

Councilman Edinger said he would like the city attorney's office to review the constitutionality of the law before taking it to the city council.

Adams agreed with that decision and they voted to send the issue to staff.

City Attorney Mike Gridley said the ordinance was enacted several years ago because there had been conflicts between marchers and spectators at parades.

The Aryan Nations used to march annually in downtown Coeur d'Alene, which drew many protesters. At times, Gridley said, protesters would become aggressive.

In one case, after the ordinance was enacted, a protester became very aggressive with his protest sign and police cited him for using the sign as a weapon.

The protester challenged that citation in court and the case went all the way to the U.S. Ninth District Court of Appeals, which sided with the protester saying a protest sign is not considered a weapon.

Gridley said the ordinance was amended to reflect that verdict.

"Other than that, I don't think the ordinance has ever been challenged," he said, adding he is unsure if there are other cities in Idaho that have similar laws.

Adams said the ordinance was also amended to allow military and police officers to carry weapons while marching in the Forth of July Parade.

"I think the whole thing was just a knee-jerk reaction to the Aryan parades," he said.

Once Gridley reviews the law and comes back with his report, Adams said he plans to take the issue back to the General Services Committee and ultimately the city council.

Since he is on the committee, the other members of the committee cannot prevent the issue from elevating to the council level.

"It would have to be a unanimous vote to table any issue," Adams said.

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