A Vancouver-based political protest group whose events have sometimes been marred by violence will host a rally Friday morning at Lower Columbia College to oppose Washington’s latest attempt to tighten up gun laws.
Patriot Prayer members Joey Gibson and Tusitala “Tiny” Toese will speak about the Second Amendment and the group’s freedom-first ideology, according to the description for the rally on Facebook. Discussion will focus on Initiative 1639, a November ballot measure that would mandate background checks for semi-automatic rifles and raise the minimum age to purchase and possess such weapons from 18 to 21, among other restrictions.
Patriot Prayer’s “flash march for law and order” in Portland on Oct. 13 resulted in a fight with “bear spray, bare fists and batons” between group members and counter-demonstrators, according to The Oregonian.
But the group’s recent pro-Second Amendment rallies at Washington State University Vancouver and two at Clark College earlier this month remained civil, according to reports by the Vancouver Columbian.
Nonetheless, safety concerns led Clark College administrators to cancel classes the day of the first rally and WSUV to give students the option to skip class during the event on its campus, the Columbian reported.
Gibson told The Daily News on Tuesday that he is working to make sure the rally at LCC complies with the college’s rules for demonstrations by public groups. The Facebook event description emphasizes that the rally will be “an honest debate” and is about “bringing people together who may or may not have a difference of opinion.”
LCC spokeswoman Wendy Hall said the college anticipated that Patriot Prayer might visit its campus after the nearby rallies. Hall said administrators plan to keep the campus open on Friday, but the college will make sure Gibson and his group follow college policy on “expressive activities.”
The college’s policy allows public groups to host political demonstrations and other expressive activities, but it limits them to the Quad area in front of the admissions building between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.
“We will follow the (state) law and our policies to do everything we can to keep our students safe,” Hall said. “Our expectation is that anyone coming to campus will follow our guidelines, and we have no reason this won’t be the case.”
The rally is scheduled for 10-11:30 a.m. near the Anderson Family Pavilion, which is included in the permitted area for expressive activities.