FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Wednesday, March 24, 2020): Bellingham council President Gene Knutson calls Tim Eyman an “Ass Hole” and describes local residents wanting to testify against anti-2nd Amendment provisions as a “clown show.”

Mar 26, 2020

Governor candidate and long-time Washington policy advocate, Tim Eyman elicited a meltdown among Bellingham city council members at Monday’s meeting where they were passing emergency ordinances.

Eyman and a group of Bellingham residents attended to speak against subsections 5, 7, & 9 of the Bellingham Municipal Code which empowers the mayor to ban the transfer, sale and possession of legal firearms by law-abiding citizens.

“At a time when governments around the country are closing gun stores like Jay Inslee has, it’s vital that the people of Washington have the confidence their local governments not violate our constitutional rights,” Eyman said.

Legal experts and 2nd Amendment advocates confirm that Eyman is on sound footing that subsections 5, 7 and 9 are in violation of the 2nd Amendment (see Supreme Court rulings in Bateman v. Perdue and NRA v. Nagin). They also violate Article 1, Section 24 of the Washington State Constitution, which prohibits “impairing” the right to protect oneself. And these local laws are also preempted by state law (RCW 9.41.290).

Prior to storming out, Bellingham Council president Gene Knutson credited Eyman with rallying the dozens of city residents in attendance. Knutson said Eyman “whipped up” citizen awareness of the unconstitutional provisions and “perpetrated” 700 citizens to send an email to the council, something they “had to put up with.” Knutson called Eyman an “ass hole” in an email to a constituent.

While dozens residents showed up to be heard, only 17 of them were allowed in. Armed police blocked these additional peaceful residents from entering the building.

Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood confirmed, after questioned by Eyman, that the council could remove the anti-2A provisions that evening even though not on the agenda and could allow public testimony. They did neither.

Bellingham resident Mary Walker wrote to Knutson: “Last night’s city council meeting was disturbing and after watching it I felt deeply ashamed of my city government”

In an email, Knutson wrote “the city attorney will be telling us just what is in our ordinance and what is not.” This lack of understanding was echoed by the mayor after the council scurried out of the room to evade citizen questions.

The council meeting was held to add language to the mayor’s emergency powers in response to the anticipated chaos caused by Jay Inslee’s recent economic shutdown.

Their emergency ordinances stated that his shutdown will have “a significant impact on the local economy impacting the retail, restaurant and other industries, resulting in layoffs and reduced work hours for a significant percentage of this workforce and loss of income for small businesses.”

They stated that “layoffs and substantially reduced work hours will lead to widespread economic hardship that will disproportionately impact low- and moderate- income workers resulting in lost wages, the inability to pay for basic household expenses, loss of housing due to nonpayment of rent, and an increase in people experiencing homelessness and the need for social support services.”

They also stated “social support services anticipate a dramatic increase in demand for services from vulnerable populations due to the COVID-19 pandemic” and “an increase in the number of people experiencing homelessness, which creates a heightened risk of disease transmission.”

Local residents, concerned about those anti-2A provisions, asked Eyman to help them because, as Knutson admitted, the council “made the decision to shut down public comment.” Why? “For safety reasons.”

When told that regular citizens could not speak, but politicians and bureaucrats would, Eyman and city residents felt the double standard was unfair.

“You will not disrupt this meeting. Period,” snapped Knutson, when Eyman suggested allowing public testimony if the microphones were cleaned after each citizen spoke.

As Eyman calmly advocated for the right of citizens to speak, Knutson called the citizens attending a “clown show” and said they should “get out of here,” even though the council admitted it was an open public meeting.

Because of the governor’s economic shutdown, citizens have become increasingly concerned how various cities will interpret his proclamation.

In an email to a resident, 4th Ward Councilwoman and Mayor Pro Tem Pinky Vargas said that Bellingham’s possessionof-firearms prohibition was common: “such emergency powers are found in many other city codes.”

As she fled the meeting with Knutson and the rest of the council, Vargus screamed, “Don’t believe Tim Eyman’s bullshit.”

Because the city of Edmonds this week passed an emergency ordinance that matches word-for-word Bellingham’s, the people are right to be concerned about the spread of this anti-2nd Amendment virus.

Eyman said, “I’m very concerned about illegal, unconstitutional attacks on our God-given rights and deeply troubled by politicians’ arrogance when they prevent citizens from speaking out against them. I’ve spent 20 years helping citizens fight back against government overreach. They’re supposed to be representing us, not ruling over us.”

As for Knutson calling it “My meeting,” Eyman said: “It’s appalling when politicians say the meetings are for them – they are called public meetings, not ‘politician meetings.’ And here, they said politicians talking was safe, but citizens speaking out was dangerous. It’s nuts.”

“Despite Councilman Knutson saying that his ‘word’ was the ‘end of the discussion,’ I think more and more people who value their constitutional rights will agree with me that it’s time we change the nature of the discussion with those we elect.”

See complete, unedited video:

Here are updates before and after the meeting:

Monday morning (day of meeting):
Monday afternoon (day of meeting):
Tuesday (day after the meeting):

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