A group of residents in northern Idaho lined up outside a U.S. Navy veteran’s house on Thursday to protest claims that federal officials are planning on confiscating the man’s weapons.
Idaho Republican state Rep. Heather Scott of Blanchard said the Veteran Affairs office has sent a letter to John Arnold of Priest River warning him that he cannot possess or purchase firearms.
The protest — spearheaded by Scott — attracted roughly 100 people. Among them were Bonner County Sheriff Daryl Wheeler, who promised to stand guard against any federal attempts to remove Arnold’s guns, and Republican Washington state Rep. Matthew Shea of Spokane Valley, who described the event as a “defiance against tyranny.”
“I took an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution and uphold the laws of Idaho,” Wheeler said. “This seemed appropriate to show my support. I was going to make sure Mr. Arnold’s rights weren’t going to be breached.”
During Thursday’s demonstration, the group at times broke out in song to sing “God Bless America” and pray while waving both the American flag and the “Don’t tread on me” flag. With a population of just 1,700, Priest River is near the tip of northern Idaho — a region known for its strong Tea Party roots and gun-rights activism.