A group of more than 30 armed supporters of gun rights marched Saturday through downtown Ketchum to the steps of the Idaho Mountain Express to protest an editorial column published in the June 10 edition of the newspaper.
The gathering of members of the organization III% Idaho featured men, women and some children marching down Main Street—many with handguns holstered on their hips—carrying flags and signs to express their support of gun rights, specifically Idaho’s law allowing citizens to carry firearms openly. One of the signs read: “The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed upon.” The march culminated with the protesters giving short speeches in front of the newspaper, alleging that the editorial was an act of “bullying.”
The group—led by Wood River Valley resident John Casey—organized the protest after the newspaper published an editorial titled “Shame could control guns better than new laws.” The editorial particularly targeted the practice of carrying guns openly.
“A small but significant number of Americans are packing guns everywhere and all the time, including inappropriately during political gatherings. Rather than relying on stricter gun control laws, we might look to the model of public shaming provided by changes in tobacco use,” the opinion stated in the first paragraph. Near the end, it stated: “Society should return to the place where it is unacceptable to show up in a school, theater, park, restaurant or political rally with a gun.”
Idaho Mountain Express editorials are published as unsigned opinions of the newspaper’s editorial board.
The gathering of gun supporters started at about 11 a.m. at Forest Service Park, on Washington Avenue. The group marched to River Street, headed east to Main Street and then proceeded north through downtown. One of the marchers carried a sign that read: “Honk if you’re not Communist.” Some motorists driving down Main Street did honk their horns. The group then walked down Sixth Street to the newspaper office.
At the entrance of the newspaper, a man who identified himself as Don Q. Public waited for the protesters with a sign that read: “Repeal the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.” Settling around the dissenter, members of the Idaho III% group individually spoke out against the newspaper’s column and in support of the Second Amendment.
“We stand without shame,” Casey said to the crowd.
In the end, the protest ended peacefully, with the group marching back to Forest Service Park via Main Street.
The Ketchum Police Department had issued a news release earlier in the week alerting citizens that the march was planned and did not require a city permit if the protesters stayed on public property. Police cars were visible in parts of downtown Ketchum during the rally but did not follow the march.
The Idaho Mountain Express did not issue a statement about the protest. The newspaper office—which is typically closed for business on Saturdays—was not open or occupied during the event.
Greg Foley: firstname.lastname@example.org