Posted by: sweeneyblog | July 10, 2014

Open Carry Advocates to Walk in Bellingham Pride Parade

For the second year running, firearm enthusiasts will be marching and staffing a booth at the Bellingham Pride Parade. The Whatcom County Chapter of Washington Open Carry has signed up as one of the hundreds of groups to march in the parade. In response, the Occupy Bellingham organization petitioned Bellingham Pride Parade to disallow Open Carry from the parade and celebration afterward, and when they were refused, Occupy pulled out of the parade, refusing to participate.

Open Carry Whatcom

Open Carry Whatcom

Let’s unpack this a bit. First, I believe that it is incredibly insensitive for open carry advocates to insert themselves into an event like this. After years and years of very real threats, intimidation and violence from those around them, the LGBTQ community is finally able to walk down the street of their hometown without fear.

Other communities still face bomb threats and violent attacks on the LGBTQ community in an attempt to silence their pride festivals. So to have people come to this event and brandish high-powered firearms is more than a little alarming for many attendees.

That said, that is the whole point of why Open Carry advocates are doing this. Pride festivals have been very successful at focusing the public attention in a positive way on the progress we have made on civil rights. They remind people that there are thousands of LGBTQ members in their community and make that point in a very positive way.

Bellingham Pride

Bellingham Pride

By generating this controversy and getting people worked up at each other, Open Carry is unraveling the progress Pride festivals have made.Why do I think they are deliberately trying to spark a reaction? Not only are they marching in the parade, but they scheduled a “family picnic” the day before the parade . . . at the same park and day as the Bellingham Pride family picnic.

It is possible this a coincidence but it seems to me like the open carry advocates are trying awfully hard to be in the same places as the Pride folks. With the Occupy Bellingham folks pulling out, they have already achieved some of their goals in sowing doubt and dissent within usually parallel organizations.

So I say, ignore them. They filled out their paperwork, followed all the rules and can march in the parade. They want to spark a reaction, that’s their goal. Let’s not give it to them.

In the internet world, we call this “not feeding the trolls.” Let’s keep the attention focused on the central mission of Bellingham Pride, “. . . to create a festival that everyone can be proud of.” You can watch a video they made promoting the festival here.

I will be marching this year in Pride. Come join me in celebrating all members of our community. I will be marching with the Whatcom Democrats, my wife will be with the Planned Parenthood marchers and neither one of us will give the Open Carry advocates another moment of our time at this event.



  1. I knew that this post would spark a strong reaction from some, so thank you for participating. I don’t believe that the pride movement is insensitive to anyone’s feelings or beliefs.

    As for violence at Open Carry events, one only has to look at the huge number of accidental shootings that happen every year at those get togethers to see the dangers.

    Finally, yes, I know many in the LGBTQ carry firearms – and if they were marching as “LGBTQ Firearm Enthusiast” it might make a big difference, but from my perspective, and that’s just what this is, it feels like an outside group trying to highjack this event.

    • Name one incident of violence at an Open Carry event.

      “it feels like an outside group trying to highjack this event”-like the radical left hijacking the LEGITIMATE environmental movement (the SIERRA CLUB for example).

    • Your logic does not work there are political groups there as well like the whatcom democrats, lovers, the silver reef casino and the Bellingham Sex Positive Center. Pride isn’t just for LGBT people it’s about all the groups that intersect and support that community if it was only about LGBT people and groups we would have a no straight people policy.

    • than lets flip it, what would be your reaction to a LGBTQ group showing up or marching in a NRA parade? (do NRA members have parades?) I see this as a good thing, because I think there are alot of people who hold views similar to Samantha’s but it’s not a view I hear about as often.

      • It is high time for an NRA parade. It would overflow the streets of Bellingham with us county people.

      • I am not a fan of NRA, necessarily but most of us in the gun community would love to have members of the LGBTQ community be part of our groups and rallies.

    • “huge number of accidental shootings”-the facts ma’am, just the facts.

  2. Riley, I thought that you have a new posting policy which says that people can not post anonymously. Is someone like “Bob S.” who signs his post using only his first name, but no last name, identifying themselves according to the rules of your posting policy?

    • He signed into WordPress and I try to give people a little leeway but you are right and I’m cleaning out his comments now.

      • What about Tim S. and sweeneyblog, aren’t they both ALIASES?

        We don’t want to upset the lovely and gracious NANCY W. 🙂

      • If you click on “Tim” it shows his last name.

  3. Politicians, roller derby teams and a variety of nonprofits marched in the Olympia Pride Parade last month. I was noting how mainstream the parade had gotten from previous years. If gun right advocates want to be part of the party, cool. It’s a rainbow right?

    • YEP!

    • I can’t seem to bring up Tim’s full name, perhaps he could supply it.

      • Here

      • Unable to do the simplest things? You may qualify for a disability check.

  4. Riley, you said: “First, I believe that it is incredibly insensitive for open carry advocates to insert themselves into an event like this.” That’s a joke, right?
    When people openly carry in public, we assume they are accountable for themselves. At a parade of people marching, who is accountable? Most parades have monitors and rules of conduct. Are the openly-carried guns loaded with safety engaged (locked and loaded)? Will they be inspected beforehand and monitored during the parade? Will the BPD be a presence at the parade? Does Bellingham carry insurance for city-permitted events? If so, is the insurance company OK with open-carry as part of the parade?

    • You need to watch a good western movie.

  5. The LGBT (what is the “Q” for?-oh, I get it) has been “IN YOUR FACE” from the get go and now they are whining because other citizens are using the same tactics.

    I am curious as to why last Friday there was no INDEPENDENCE DAY parade in a city the size of (the Peoples Republic of) Bellingham (excuse my sarcasm). I had to drive to Blaine to celebrate. This community has done everything in its power to denigrate this great country. No sparklers, give me a break.

  6. in some ways, I’d feel safer if it were the concealed-carry folks wanting to march. At least a concealed carry permit includes a requirement for some kind of basic training in gun safety before the permit is issued. As a member of the public, i have no way to know (until it’s too late) how well-trained or sensible someone is when they are carrying a weapon openly.

    • A point to ponder. I never open carry in public only concealed because I am afraid some crazed druggie might sneak up behind me and take my 45 ACP out of my holster when i am going in to the Bagelry.

      • “because I am afraid” – BINGO!

      • Wayne,

        A lot of people make that claim but the fact is it doesn’t happen. When I carry openly I use a holster with enough retention that someone isn’t going to be able to just grab it.


    • Heather,

      There is no requirement for training in Washington State to obtain your concealed pistol license. Just head to your local law enforcement office and fill out the paperwork. I know a couple of the guys who will probably be at the event, open carrying. They take the responsibility of carrying a firearm much more seriously then a lot of people I know that conceal carry.


      • You missed my sarcasm on the are around the Bagelry. There is no way they would get my gun.

  7. Of course it’s insensitive and socially aberrant to parade with a gun as your only reason to parade at all.
    People that feel the need to elevate themselves with their hardware are still too small for respect from the public and I hope they’re soundly booed by the audience all the way down the route.
    I’m not a real psychologist but I know enough about human nature to realize these people are very sick which oddly enough,
    should preclude their right to own a gun in the first place.

    • Your opinion only.

      You sound like you own a Gulag construction company.

      You are certainly the one who is intolerant.

      • I’ve been building the very best Gulags for over 40 years now and I’ve never put one up for a civilian client that felt the need to display their weapons in a parade.

    • Davedoran- replace “with a gun” with “a person’s gayness” in your statement. Has the gay community already forgotten that not long ago people didn’t want to see the gays on parade? Your position seems a bit hypocritical…

      • “Has the gay community already forgotten that not long ago people didn’t want to see the gays on parade”? Times have changed, let it go. Don’t Worry, Be Happy. 🙂

  8. Greetings Riley!

    First off, thank you for providing these articles and this forum for discussion. I truly enjoy reading your blog and being up to date on local issues. 🙂

    First challenge: Please reference a source for the “huge” number of accidents at the Open Carry events. You know how important references are, especially in a heated article like this.

    Second challenge: Explore the other side of the issue. I don’t want to use the generic arguments of reverse discrimination and “intolerance from the champions of tolerance,” but this is sloppy journalism at best, the kind of article your opponents criticize you for; I know normally you at least try to seek out a comment from the opposition. The Whatcom Open Carry website mentions their values of good citizenship and participation in the public forum. I know many folks (myself included, and at least one of your brother in laws) who believe that responsible and knowledgeable gun ownership is the duty of every able citizen in this country. To put a positive spin on it, the Whatcom Open Carry folks may simply be trying to bring more public exposure to their constitutionally supported beliefs. (Amongst their de facto opponents too! Admirable) Even if this were not the case, if you are going to sling this much mud, cite some references so I can tell you’re actually right.

    I expect better semi-journalism from you! Don’t get relegated to the realm of the dreaded ‘commentator.’ Rush is one of those.

    Respectfully and thankfully yours,
    Matthew Robanser

    • “Huge” is excessive and I’m sorry for that. This is an example of what I was thinking of for the accidental gun incidents:

      I have a call out to the open carry folks for just that reason and will be doing some follow up – I just wanted to urge other organizations not to follow Occupy’s lead and stay involved in pride. This piece is definitely more advocacy than reporting but I was just so disappointed to see people leaving this event as a result of this issue.

      • Gun Show=Parade. At gun shows there are hundreds to thousands of guns hence the name Gun Show. How many Open Carry guns were displayed at last year’s LGBTQ Pride last year? 10, 20, 30?

        A suggestion: cite more reputable websites, the dailykos is at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to credibility.

      • That disappointed me too! Thanks for the link 🙂

  9. Good to know that should there be a rabid dog or a dangerous desperado at the Pride parade the open carry folks can go all Atticus Finch on them.

    What else are these guys so afraid of that they feel the need to go about in civil society visibly armed? I mean, I don’t even carry a gun in mountain lion country, (although I do bring my dog). Or is it that they want other people to fear them? Because that’s what happens when you parade around wearing a deadly weapon in public. You scare the women and children. Is this how a strong man conducts himself, creating fear in those he should rather be uplifting and comforting?

  10. I am a queer transgender woman who also happens to be a member of the open carry community! When I first came out of the closet three years ago the open carry group was one of the few “traditionally conservative” groups that fully accepted me and didn’t ridicule me or try to throw me out.

    Two years ago while having coffee with some of the open carry people I asked if we could have a table at pride it was my first ever pride event and I thought it would be awesome to show the community that there is another group out there where we are welcomed into. It was a huge success and got way more support and visitors than even the democrats table next to us. Open carry being at pride isn’t about trying to intimidate anybody it’s about dismantling the social construct that LGBT people can’t also be gun owners.

    Myself being in both communities I soon found out there were allot of LGBT folk who happen to be gun owners, an overwhelming amount for that matter. Now let me tell you why gun ownership is so important to the LGBT community, when I first came out the store I worked in had been graffitied with homophobic/transphobic things about me, I received death/violence threats, I was sexually assaulted and followed and threatened when I would walk alone downtown at night. The police didn’t care I was on the fringe of society and was assumed to have brought it on myself because of what I am. My gun was the only comfort I had, it helped me feel safe when I would be out in public and I was targeted, when I was at home it helped me sleep at night knowing I could defend myself if I needed to. The fact that a group is pulling out of this event because they couldn’t silence the voices a part of the community they don’t agree with is laughable and shows just how weak their message is.


    • Very well stated. Thankyou for your courage.

    • Thanks for posting Samantha! Great to hear about the positive response the booth received at the event!

    • Samantha – thanks for sharing your reasons for carrying a weapon – justified fear of assault or worse. The Colt 45 was not called “the equalizer” for nothing.

      I object to people who ostentatiously carry weapons on display where there is no justifiable reason and where their actions only create fear. I mean, it’s hard to imagine a less threatening place than Bellingham on a sunny summer weekend.

      That said, I really think the huffy reaction from Occupy was wrong – running away rather than confronting? This is smarmy and hardly brave, IMHO.

      • Thanks for your observation of OCCUPY. This is the outcome of a consensus decision this year. It may be different next year as the composition at a GA is not predictable. We were not huffy nor did we make demands or ask for accommodations. We simply let David know that we would not be participating this year. IT got totally mis-construed by Riley. That’s OK though as we all know how it goes when one person speaks to another, and so on down the line. OCCUPY BELLINGHAM is a non-violent organization and enough current members were uncomfortable with this showing of guns that we aren’t going to be there this year. I will miss it and will probably attend and march with the Dems. AND – BTW – have you ever tried to “confront” these folks about not scaring honest people trying to go about their normal business? Let me know how successful you were.

    • Thank you Samantha, well said.

    • Samantha: Great response. I know more and more LGBT folks who carry to protect themselves against the real threats of violence that affect our group on a daily basis.

  11. On the plus side, whenever you need a weapon you can just get it from one of the “open-carry” folks.

    • “I’ll give you my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands”-Charlton Heston

  12. I disagree with you, Riley. Personally, I want people who are targeted for violence to be able to defend themselves. Look throughout history, where it would have been beneficial for minorities, women, and those who don’t have fences, so to speak. Where do you reconcile this internally?

    Guns benefit a 90 lb grandmother with two 6 foot tall, 250 lb muggers, more than they benefit the muggers themselves. Guns benefit a target of violence, ganged up on by 3, 4, 5 or more people, more than they benefit the group of people attempting to inflict the violence.

    I do not advocate violence – I do however advocate the ability to prevent it when kind words do not dissuade it.

    There’s two ways to deal with an assailant. Reason and force. If reason is abandoned by the attacker, what is your solution to the person about to be raped, about to be mugged?

    My solution for a woman who is going to be raped is simple. It’s not abortion after the fact. It’s the ability to have that woman end the assault decisively, by ending the life of the assailant with minimal trauma to the victim.

    My compassion and desire for safety does NOT extend merely to those who look, act and think like I do. I don’t personally carry, but if I did and someone who was LGBTQ was being assaulted for their practices, or beliefs, I would have a better chance to end the confrontation than an individual unarmed, without training.

    Guns are like fire – the same torch that can light a fire to boil water or cook food – can take lives. To light a candle in this world, IS to cast a shadow, I’ll admit. But, if the LGBTQ community is in fact at risk of being targeted for violence, I’ll celebrate that right beside them, to be safe, to feel safe, and to create safety for those around them.

    Occupy had a rape free zone. Show me ONE rape ever committed at a gun show. The safety of Bellingham was best served by having gun toting people – not the occupy crowd, standing with those in the parade.

    • Sanity prevails. Good comment.

    • Don’t forget avoidance. That’s the best first strategy of all!

    • “the ability to have that woman end the assault decisively, by ending the life of the assailant with minimal trauma to the victim.”

      You’re a man, and you’ve never experienced what you argue and never will. I’m a woman, I have, and you are very wrong.I chose not to use the gun I actually had in my hand at one point, initially to my profound shame, but as my doctor. counselors, and other wise folk told me, in the end, it was far better that KILLING SOMEONE was not part of the trauma that I had to live with.

      I am a rape survivor. It does not define me. And I am very glad that I am also a person who has never killed another human being.

      • You could have kneecapped him. You are not obligated to kill him. I am surprise he didn’t run if you had a gun in your hand. Was he armed? Did you have prior gun training?

        If you are attacked again what is your game plan? Victim-Chapter II.

        This is an interesting story.

      • You made a choice that was right for you. That doesn’t mean it would be right for someone else.I am truly sorry you went through that ordeal, but glad you’ve come out of it.
        I must also inform you that thinking a “man” can’t possibly know what it’s like is wrong. Rape is an act of control, of dominance. It may be practiced by either sex against either or the same sex .And more than two can “play”.
        In closing I employ a quote attributed to 1930’s bad guy Al Capone, “You can get further with a kind word and a gun than just a kind word alone.”

  13. Remember the shooting incident in Las Vegas last month with the Millers? Joseph Wilcox pulled out his gun in the Wal-Mart without looking around to see if Jerad Miller had an accomplice. Amanda shot him dead. So for all of you insecure types who want to intimidate people with your “big bad gun,” you might want to be a little more observant. Seeing in 360 might actually make you observant of those around you too. You might even realize that those LGBTQ types actually have a right to exist. But as Steve Martin would say, “Naahhh!”

  14. Having Occupy leave the parade because of Open Carry has already altered the Pride Parade. Open Carry gets their wish. I am at church til 12:OO pm. Will try to find you if I’m ok.

    • it was “Occupy’s” choice to chicken out.

  15. As pointless as I think open carry is, I’m compelled to wade into this one and blow my whistle. Ugh, here we go…
    So let me get this straight… A traditionally conservative organization chooses to support a liberal social policy and march in support of the LGBT community. Yet you say they should be socially rejected because… why? First of all, LGBT supporters have been trying to “spark a reaction” at non-LGBT parades and events for decades. It’s called “political and social activism.”
    Secondly, the argument that their presence would “intimidate” or otherwise offend other attendees is based on entirely subjective emotional reaction. Have you considered the message of support they may be trying to send? (“You have my axe…”) Not the best way to show support, but it’s the thought that counts, right? Some people may be offended, others may not be. Let them speak with their own words and actions. Occupy Bellingham threw their tizzy last time, they had every right to. Move on.
    Third, are you really trying to reject a social group who is SHOWING SUPPORT FOR YOUR BELIEFS simply because you disagree with their life choices? … Now why does this sound so familiar…?
    Point four: Rather than widening the chasm of dissent by turning up your nose and ignoring people who may or may not be trying to push your buttons, how about taking the moral high road with a sincere “Thank you for your support” comment? Like it or not, Open Carry organizations are big social policy game-changers in red states where it’s been harder to gain traction for LGBT rights. By snubbing them here, you run the risk of fueling the fire in those states, and MAKING IT HARDER TO LEGALIZE GAY MARRIAGE IN OTHER STATES.
    Bottom line: Wait to see if they do anything stupid, THEN skewer them. By doing it now, all you’re doing is generating the controversy yourself.
    Sorry, Riley. Despite the prior epic awesomeness you’ve penned (well, typed), this was your Pirates of the Caribbean 3 of blog posts. I hope there are no hard feelings…?

    • Never any hard feelings. Let me be clear, I’m not opposed to the open carry folks being there – I think it is a foolish way to make their point and choosing to do a picnic at the exact same place and time as the Pride picnic is a little sketch but on the most part I’m okay with it. I’m more worried that other liberal groups will bail on pride because the open carry guys are there. My point is that everyone should come to pride and not let a little controversy keep them away.

      • Afraid of your shadow?

      • “I believe that it is incredibly insensitive for open carry advocates to insert themselves into an event like this.”
        Sounds like opposition to me. They’re not crashing the party, they jumped through the same hoops the Whatcom Democrats did.

        “By generating this controversy and getting people worked up at each other, they are unraveling the progress Pride festivals have made.”
        Look who’s talking. Their mere presence isn’t generating the controversy. Rather than celebrating the fact that Pride support is finally coming from all walks of life, you contribute to the divide.

        “My point is that everyone should come to pride and not let a little controversy keep them away.”
        Then how about you actually make them feel welcome, instead of snubbing them? If other liberal groups bail on Pride because they think political controversy is more important than LGBT support, then obviously they don’t much care about Pride at all. THOSE are the people you want to march with?

        Don’t backpedal and pretend your point was misconstrued. You made your point very clear – that you think Pride is an event that only certain people who meet your expectations should attend. You think liberal groups belong, and conservative groups don’t because they may scare away the others. How exactly does this help the LGBT community? So much for your “everyone is welcome” tent…

      • I do believe everyone is welcome – but I believe that this group is being deliberately provocative and as such, I don’t want to give them a controversy. My central message was ignore them. This isn’t about liberal or conservative – I’m not pretending my point is misconstrued but I NEVER said that only certain people should attend. I just think that they are being insensitive. They are welcome to be insensitive, just as I am welcome to say that. I just think after all the years of hate crimes, bringing high-powered firearms to a pride festival is not a good way to win friends. Why not just bring a banner or pass out flyers?

      • Bryon is schooling you Riley. “…I believe that this group is being deliberately provocative and as such, I don’t want to give them a controversy.” Conservative communities and organizations have called LGBT parades and protests “deliberately provocative” for decades and used that same descriptor to stamp down free citizens who are just trying to change the status quo for the better.

        Also, quit calling guns “high powered.” This unnecessary emphasis (along the vein of Barack “Hussein” Obama) is obviously truthful, but the only reason you would use the adjective is to inspire fear. You are intelligent enough to hold your own in this discourse without resorting to such banal tactics.

      • Bryon is welcome to school me – I really do welcome the debate and appreciate everyone for participating. Pride is about celebrating inclusion and I hope that I’m wrong. I hope that this group is honestly about promoting LGBT gun ownership.

    • Good points to ponder. Thanks for bringing some sanity to this discussion. The radical left always shoots from their lips. 🙂

  16. What the hell does “Open Carry” Have to do with the Pride Celebration ? I think they are trying to hijack the event because they cannot find any support for their own event. I intend to follow Riley’s advice by turning my back to them when the pass by. Like I learned to do with the unruly child, don’t reinforce negative behavior!

  17. Camp David,

    I would recommend that take more than a stick and a barking dog if you go on a safari. Dogs (if well trained can keep the lion at bay until the owner makes the kill and not with a stick). My Rhodesian Ridgeback is up to the task.

    • Farber Wayne –
      Talking about local lions – “puma concolor”, cougars, “catamounts” in VT. Not at all the same as an african lion, and less dangerous. I’ve only ever seen one in the wild, in CA’s Coast range. If they were as dangerous as african lions, feral hogs would not be the problem they are in CA.

      And my aim is not to kill – just to convince the cat to find other prey.

      • There have been cougars and coyotes sighted in Whatcom Falls Park in the last couple of years. And I have seen them walk down ocean Avenue in Carmel-by-the-Sea at dawn (the Carmel Pine Cone had his photo on the front page a few years back. I also had one leap in front of me on Highway 1 in Monterey when I was driving driving north for an early morning fishing trip. In California we called them Mountain Lions.

  18. It’s a Pride Parade, not a Random Protest Parade. Just because you’re marching in it doesn’t automatically mean you’re supporting LGBT rights. If Westboro showed up to march in it, would you think, “Oh, how nice! They support the gay community now”?

  19. I’m a Libertarian, proud supporter of the second amendment, and two of my dearest friends as well as my father are gay. Both of my gay friends as well of my dad support my candidacy and my position on the second amendment. Big wag of the finger here to you Riley, this is the first piece of outrageously false, inflammatory, and opinionated “journalism” I’ve seen from you. Supporting the second amendment and the exercising thereof is in no way hurtful or shining on to the LGBTQ community. I am so disappointed right now that I don’t know what else to say other than to rationalize this article of yours as political pandering to your democrat candidate in a race that happens to have a Libertarian in it. I thought you were a journalist on this blog, not a party tool.

    • Just how is strutting down the parade route with your assault rifle celebrating the second amendment?
      It’s horribly out of place for the context and
      the public is being asked to trust armed protesters they have no way of knowing they can trust.
      In an environment like we get from the gun nuts already,
      with 76 random shootings in the last 18 months,
      it’s incredibly tone deaf no matter how proud of your bullets you are.
      I had high hopes you’d actually morph into an intelligent and logical alternative come election day and jeez was I wrong.

      • 76 random shootings in Bellingham?

        As “Nancy” would say, you are a cry baby. You Liberals won’t be happy until everyone else is miserable like you.

      • How were you wrong Dave? Are you surprised that a Libertarian would like to celebrate LGBTQ pride while supporting the second amendment? That’s the statement that we are making here, that the public can have their cake and eat it too, that we can have all the freedoms that come with living in an accepting society. The assumption that we are trying to intimidate or be insensitive is what i believe is not intelligent thought. Perhaps Riley should have spoken with the group before slamming them.

      • I have received some fantastic feedback from several people – on and off the blog – and will be posting some further thoughts on this issue later tonight. Thank you to everyone who participated, I know this issue can get heated and I appreciate the spirited debate.

      • As for the Libertarian,
        it doesn’t matter who or what the ‘group’ is when they choose to display their weapons in a public family setting because the act itself negates the need for any type of explanation or understanding.
        But I think you have every right to support the Pride Parade and I’m sure glad that’s actually your motivation so
        why not do what all good paraders do and just wear shiny boots and nice satin sashes with Open Carry or Gun Freak written across them and
        save your firearms for an audience that’ll be suitably impressed.

    • He is just communicating, his degree is in communications not journalism.

  20. Your info is way off on this Sweeney.
    Your list of negligent discharges happening at gun shows, is funny, since OC and carrying loaded firearms into them are not allowed.

    Thank you Samantha for your courage, your comments and for being a beloved member of our OC community. We love you!

    • I’m shocked, shocked to find guns at a gun show!

      What do gun shows have to do with a parade?

  21. Riley,

    You are smarter than this.

    Making this an anti gun agenda, is pretty low.

    Occupy must have forgot that it was folks with guns that protected their right to free speech in Phoenix Arizona.

    This is our 4th picnic at Bloedel, yes it is a coincidence Pride is there too, a happy one since we love that community.

    Also failed to note it was the organizers of Pride, who told occupy they werent denying us. So the Pride community has no problem with us but you do?

    I could go on and on and on…..

    • Bias sometimes clouds critical thinking.

      • Did you read my follow up Wayne?

  22. […] are proud LGBTQ and gun advocates doing their best to bridge communities and break stereotypes (special shoutout to Samantha’s story in the comments of the previous article). In many ways, my perspective on the Open Carry folks had been as limited as many of the outdated […]

  23. Being that my dad is the one organizing this for the open carry group of which you took that picture from, it’s important to note a few things you mentioned. My dad is the proud father of two gay children. He is also there to support the LGBT crowd. In his logic “what group has been picked on and bullied more than gay men? They must defend themselves.” It is you that is trying to be devisive. You are making this political. And you are the only one that isn’t accepting. But that’s the left for you.

    • Aaron, please read my follow up article – the response to this one has helped change my perspective.

  24. […] of the week. Usually July is my slow month as far as readers are concerned but thanks to the guns, gays and ganja social issues triple threat, I’ve been working overtime keeping this […]

  25. The family day picnic put on by the Open Carry group is an annual event that has been scheduled for the same weekend, in the same place, for the last four years. They were delighted to hear the Pride event would also be in another part of the park the same day. Welcome all and freedom for all. Also, the Open Carry group did not plan to march in the parade. Just like last year, they are manning a booth afterwards and welcome questions about laws, guns, and ammunition. Let’s show some tolerance and acceptance.

  26. To clarify for a moment. Occupy Bellingham did not, As Riley stated, “petition Bellingham Pride Parade to disallow Open Carry from the parade and celebration afterward”. We stated our discomfort with the presence of guns at a peaceful event, asked if the open carry folks would be there, and if so we would rather not participate this year. We asked for no special accommodation. David, from the Pride community expressed his understanding to me and his regret that OCCUPY would not be present. I learned just last night that this conversation was taking place. I and others in OCCUPY have enjoyed the parade and the festivities afterwards. Had we known OC would not have been in the parade we might have done that portion. There is a much bigger conversation needed here about where guns are appropriate and what the goal is for those who want to openly carry a loaded weapon on their person.

    • You will find that supporters of the Constitution don’t usually censor the freedoms of others. We are not asking you to carry a gun and we are not asking you why you are NOT carrying a gun. It’s a Constitutional right. No goal.

      • Lori,

        Good response. Do you accept “new” members to your group?
        I just CC now but would like to open my horizons.

      • BS – Carrying a weapon in plain view is an intimidation tactic.

  27. I admit that what little I know about “Open Carry” activists is from their own videos posted on YouTube. I had generally considered them to be a collection of insecure, bumbling, morons. I also admit that I pre-judged their motives to participate in the Pride Parade – I assumed it was intended to intimidate, harass, and overshadow LGBTQ pride. Based on the comments here by what appear to be legitimate members of that group, it sounds like there is genuine concern and support for LGBTQ issues. That is awesome! It would be great if the OC people wore rainbow shirts or carried flags or *something* to clearly signal their intentions, or else many folks will jump to the same conclusions I (and others) did. I hope everyone can extend the benefit of the doubt and a handshake to our local Open Carry group and make the party that much more diverse, tolerant, and FUN.

  28. B. S. to you Walter. It is the law.

    Do you feel intimidated when you walk by a policeman open-carrying a 9mm Glock? Normal law-abiding citizens do not feel intimidated. I don’t know whether you have ever attended a July 4th parade but you would probably be offended when the color guide marched by.

    • False comparison. You should know better Wayne.

      • I asked you a question, “Do you feel intimidated when you walk by a policeman open-carrying a 9mm Glock?”

        You made the comparison. It is you should know better Walter.

      • Wayne – Don’t try to spin my comment. I called BS on Lori because carrying a loaded weapon is an intimidation tactic. I also call BS on you. Do you really think the RPP (reasonably prudent professional) who is trained and under the watchful eye of the public 24/7 and worried about his/her job is the same as the nitwit blustering in public with his pitiful phallic symbol strapped to his side? As I say, you know better Wayne. Try out your Tea Party logic on someone else.

    • I absolutely feel intimidated by ANYONE carrying a weapon in public. In a peaceful society it would be unnecessary.

      • We don’t live in a peaceful society, get over it!

  29. Celebrating ALL the members of the community means involving ALL the people who believe in the right to open carry a weapon in the state of Washington. Why exclude them? Have they protested gay rights? Have they made violent threats against the gay community of Bellingham? Sounds like they want to show that they don’t want to harm anyone, just put their msg out that people should be allowed their 2nd amendment rights.

  30. […] in Bellingham Pride Parade. In the light of multiple mass shootings in the last couple of years, Open Carry advocates applied to march in the Bellingham Pride Parade, a move that generated a little furor – especially after they planned their social event at […]

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