September 20, 2014 11:45 am -

A Washington elections office will remain a firearms-friendly zone even though a certified election observer tasked by the county Republican party with overseeing people counting votes, unnerved people when he showed up packing a .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol.

[su_center_ad]There were no altercations when Gerald “Rick” Halle showed up armed, but later, some of the elections workers said they were uncomfortable.

Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey, also a Republican, said he would discuss the issue with the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office but they determined that there’s nothing that can be done.

“The state has preempted the area of regulating firearms,” Chris Horn, the county’s chief civil deputy prosecutor said.

The Columbian reports:

In the future, if observers show up with sidearms, a staff member will ask them to voluntarily put their firearm in a newly purchased gun safe.

If the observers don’t want to park their guns in the safe, “they will still be welcome to carry out their responsibility,” Kimsey wrote in an email.

The county currently prohibits employees from carrying firearms at work, but elected officials and the public are allowed to bring weapons into some county buildings. State and federal law bans the public from carrying weapons at the courthouse, juvenile justice facilities and the community health campus. The elections office is in a separate building not covered by those bans.

“Either the law has to be changed or the political parties have to re-evaluate the issues, since they pick the observers,” Horn said. “As far as the county is concerned, we can’t regulate or prohibit or even prevent people from exercising their legal rights.”

Halle, who all agreed wasn’t “brandishing” his firearm that day, said storing his gun in a safe would defeat the purpose of wearing a firearm.

“I can’t predict, no matter where I am — if I’m in an election office, the grocery store, a mall — I can’t predict what’s going to happen there,” Halle said. “I don’t know everyone else there and I’m not sure what they are capable of doing. I don’t know what will happen when I walk out the door. It’s like putting on my seatbelt or helmet.”

Lee Jensen, who was serving as an election observer,  said having  a partisan person “standing behind you, holding a gun” could easily be disruptive or intimidating.

“I would like to see a gun-free zone,”Jensen said.

“And for people who do carry guns to understand there are people who don’t feel the same way about guns everywhere,” he said.

“I don’t mind having an open dialogue about open carry,” Halle said. “It’s a chance for people to learn and understand what their rights are and aren’t and the reasons for us that choose to carry, why we do so.”

Or he could get a job where he doesn’t work closely with people who are trying to exercise their right to vote.[su_csky_ad]

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

45 responses to Washington Election Observer Free To Carry His Gun Even Though Others Felt Unsafe

  1. Red Eye Robot September 20th, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    50 years ago the same people would have said they felt uncomfortable or distracted by “Colored” people observing elections

    • Anomaly 100 September 20th, 2014 at 12:14 pm

      Apples, meet oranges.

    • M D Reese September 20th, 2014 at 12:22 pm

      No–50 years ago white bigots were uncomfortable with “colored” people VOTING at the polls. Not a whole lot has changed in that regard.

      • Red Eye Robot September 21st, 2014 at 1:09 pm

        Robert Byrd DEMOCRAT KKK member, Filibustered the 63 civil rights act and went on to be re-elected 8 more times who in 2001 was still publicly using the N-word and was elected SENATE MAJORITY LEADER by his fellow DEMOCRAT senators. Not once but TWICE! and not in the 60’s when his fellow racist DEMOCRATS were still active in the US senate. but in 1977 & 1987. Do you suppose when Ted Kennedy voted for Byrd to be majority leader in 87 was unaware that Byrd had filibustered the civil rights act or was a klansman?

        • M D Reese September 21st, 2014 at 7:29 pm

          And now, right now, today, in this very time, the GOPTP is working as hard as they can to suppress voting in districts that lean DemocratIC because they can’t win on their outdated and regressive programs. And of course those born and bred Birchers, the Koch Bros, are working hard to destroy what’s left of our democracy so that they and other corporations can just buy it outright and not have to hold the periodic show of holding elections. Oh–and the Democrats of yore in the South are for the most part Republics now. I remember what LBJ said when he signed the Civil Rights Act. True then, true today. If you want to talk ancient history, let’s talk about Prescott Bush–also known as Hitler’s banker. Now THERE was a proud moment in time…

    • Guest September 20th, 2014 at 1:38 pm

      50 years ago? How about 6 years ago? M D Reese is correct.

      Right wing selective amnesia.

    • arc99 September 20th, 2014 at 1:41 pm

      50 years ago? How about 6 years ago? M D Reese is correct.

      New Black Panthers. Philadelphia. Predominately black district. Polling place.

      Ring any bells? Right wingers were throwing hissy fits and demanding Justice Dept investigations.

      • Skydog2 September 20th, 2014 at 2:38 pm

        The NBP intending to intimidate voters, this guy didn’t.

        • arc99 September 20th, 2014 at 2:44 pm

          intending to intimidate voters? go ahead and believe the BS if you like. all it does is amplify the very real double standards black folks continue to face in this country.

        • NW10 September 20th, 2014 at 6:28 pm

          Sure, while people carrying their AR’s into Walmart and Target are just demonstrating “FREEDOM!!!”

        • raincheck September 21st, 2014 at 10:07 am

          How do you know they intended to intimidate?

        • edmeyer_able September 21st, 2014 at 12:29 pm

          Wow ,can you give me the winning lottery numbers for the first 3 weeks of Oct.?

      • granpa.usthai September 20th, 2014 at 7:12 pm

        He doesn’t have a firearm (visible) which makes him a visible good guy. Plus, unlike the nasty filthy disgusting WHITE RACIST at the Bundy standoff, this guy is clean, neat and American as apple pie!

    • edmeyer_able September 20th, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      If by the “same people” you’re referring to yourself then I believe you are correct and I bet even today that would be accurate.

  2. Kingminnie September 20th, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    “I can’t predict, no matter where I am — if I’m in an election office,
    the grocery store, a mall — I can’t predict what’s going to happen
    there,” Halle said.

    Nothing like living your life in fear. Thing is, no one can predict what this yahoo is going to do either. That, right there, is the thing.

    • M D Reese September 20th, 2014 at 12:20 pm

      That’s how I see it too. When everybody’s packing heat, how do you tell which ones are the “good guys with guns” and which ones are the bad?

  3. Jake September 20th, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Just another Republican Party attempt to intimidate people who do not vote for them. Jeez why don’t they just put on the Nazi uniforms and be done with?

  4. NW10 September 20th, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    • granpa.usthai September 20th, 2014 at 7:04 pm

      EX CE LENT !

  5. Abby Normal September 20th, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    This must be what voting is like in Afghanistan. These jerks are trying to intimidate people and they need to be stopped.

    • Skydog2 September 20th, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      It appears he wasn’t trying to intimidate anyone, “all agreed wasn’t brandishing” his firearm”.

      • edmeyer_able September 20th, 2014 at 2:49 pm

        Halle said. “I don’t know everyone else there and I’m not sure what they are capable of doing”

        No no one knows what anyone is capable of doing but we’re reasonably sure they don’t have a gun w/which they can shoot 9 people in 30 seconds like you can w/the 9mm on your hip.

      • tracey marie September 20th, 2014 at 3:16 pm

        lol, of corse he was trying to intimidate people. There is no other reason that any sane person has to walk around with a loaded gun

      • raincheck September 21st, 2014 at 9:59 am

        Strapped to your hip is as close to brandishing as you can get without technically brandishing… the only difference is about… 1 second

  6. Skydog2 September 20th, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    1. Change the law making it a gun-free zone.

    2. If the area is so unsafe that people can’t predict what might happen, then post police officers there.

    • tiredoftea September 20th, 2014 at 2:54 pm

      No. 1-Yes

      No. 2- Your, and his, assertion is wrong and he needs psychiatric attention to help him with his problems. Wearing a gun won’t help that.

  7. Jeffrey Samuels September 20th, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    the entire purpose of open carry seems to be to get people comfortable with seeing armed folks in daily life. If you want to live in Afghanistan then perhaps this would be a good idea. I for one, would leave any place if I saw someone with a weapon walking around. There is no way to know if that person is a good guy, a bad guy, or just a nut who might be set off for reasons unknown when it is least expected. A civil society should not need to see open carry weapons all over the place.

  8. tiredoftea September 20th, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    I’m guessing this partisan observer was not in the “safe” suburbs of the middle class but rather in a minority voting district? Not trying to intimidate people at all, was he? Weren’t there armed observers in the Jim Crow south with the same story?

  9. tracey marie September 20th, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    Why would that idiot feel the need to carry a gun in this situation for anything but intimidation.

    • Skydog2 September 20th, 2014 at 4:20 pm

      ….. because he’s an idiot.

    • granpa.usthai September 20th, 2014 at 7:01 pm

      -maybe he’s scared someone will laugh at his micro mini manhood when he votes Republiklan?

  10. Cosmic_Surfer September 20th, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Another fetishist…Guess this is the only way he can find love and commitment – something willing to be attached to the hip

  11. Suzanne McFly September 20th, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    You can’t wear a partisan tee shirt but you can bring a gun? Makes a whole lotta sense.

  12. Bob Cronos September 20th, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    ““I would like to see a gun-free zone,”Jensen said.” — Ah yes, those places where only the bad guys have guns… Every mass shooting in recent history has taken place in a “gun free zone”…

    • edmeyer_able September 20th, 2014 at 6:12 pm

      The Az shooting where G Gifford was shot was not a gun free zone, if fact some idiot was about to shoot an innocent.
      So you got any other “facts” to spew?

      • Suzanne McFly September 21st, 2014 at 10:53 am

        Facts? Now your just being silly ed lol

    • NW10 September 20th, 2014 at 6:24 pm

      The Las Vegas shooting involving two teabaggers that killed cops and a “good guy with a gun” at a Walmart was in an open carry zone.

      • granpa.usthai September 20th, 2014 at 6:57 pm

        or – F L O R I D A !
        (not that a bad guy with a gun has actually ever shot anyone there – except for every day of the year). Chalk up another one that’s calling you out for your NRA stupidity chant, Bob.

  13. granpa.usthai September 20th, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    can’t wait to hear Republicans and the NRA ballyhooing the 2nd half of the 2nd amendment when the US Citizens returning from Syria and Iraq to vote are wearing their colors and toting an AK-47 locked and loaded. Nothing says ‘freedom’ like Freedom For All!

  14. DD September 21st, 2014 at 3:46 am

    Great. Now my state is among the incredibly stupid too. Here I thought I was safe from paranoid people who carry fire arms because you never know when a cantaloupe will jump out brandishing a stem at you in the grocery store!! Or in this case some old woman getting feisty while voting. Guns and voting, naw, no intimidation there. I can almost guarantee this issue will be next. Closing gun purchase loopholes is on the ballot this time around. I can clearly see what lax law will be next. No fire arms while folks are voting!!!

  15. raincheck September 21st, 2014 at 10:13 am

    ” I don’t know what will happen when I walk out the door. It’s like putting on my seatbelt or helmet.”
    Because if your going to the grocery store you just know your in for a wild ride!!

  16. annaaurora October 6th, 2014 at 7:57 am

    This was exactly my fear with this OC and voting. It does nothing but intimidate people who don’t carry. Voting is already a joke in the US. If one person is un-comfortable by an OC person who is too goddamn lazy to get their CC license or who doesn’t want to pay which so many whine about then let’s put a moratorium on voting until we get this figured out. I pay school and I have no KIDS!!!!!!!! This pisses me right off.