The gun debate is expected to lead to a packed city council meeting in Oak Harbor Tuesday as the council considers repealing a city ordinance that bans guns at city parks and marinas.
Gun rights groups are calling on people to turn out because of what happened at the last council meeting when the ban came up. That meeting snowballed into a gun control issue between a disabled military veteran, Lucas Yonkman, and city councilman Rick Almberg. The confrontation was posted on YouTube.
Yonkman got up to speak and said he had a concealed carry weapons permit and was carrying at the moment. Yonkman was then asked by Almberg if he was armed at that moment.
Almberg then made a motion to ask that anyone in the room who had a gun to check that gun with the police department or to leave. The motion was seconded by another council member, but the motion did not pass and Almberg left the chambers.
Interim City Attorney Grant Weed said later in the meeting that had the council passed the motion, it likely would be against state law. Mayor Scott Dudley then apologized to Yonkman and said he felt safer because Yonkman was there.
The whole situation has sparked reaction from people across the country and even ended up in the Los Angeles Times. Since the video hit the web, Dudley has received thousands of emails, letters and phone calls
“They were appalled, appalled at an elected official who seems to get overstepping his bounds by infringing upon this individual’s rights,” said Dudley.
“Our mayor has encouraged people to come to our meetings with weapons. I’m not going to say that it’s pro-dumb(expletive), but it’s just not good judgment,” said Almberg.
“I'm well trained with a firearm and I think I've proven myself to be responsible in any situation even very intense ones, and being an ex-military man, I think that I was expecting that he'd understand that a little better and was very surprised he wished me to be disarmed,” said Yonkman in response to what happened that night.
In October, the Second Amendment Foundation, a pro-gun group, sent the city a letter to amend the ban because they say it's unconstitutional and goes against state law, otherwise they may face a lawsuit. State law prohibits this type of ordinance.
The council voted to table amending the city code until state and federal lawmakers make changes in gun law.
Tuesday’s meeting starts at 6:00 p.m. at Oak Harbor City Hall, 865 SE Barrington Drive.