On Saturday, January 19, tens of thousands of gun enthusiasts gathered nationwide at gun shops, shooting ranges, and 49 state capitols. About 800 rallied in Boise at the Idaho Statehouse, according to one estimate. Many carried signs that denounced President Obama and equated gun control with totalitarianism. Some contended that gun rights are god given or family friendly. They called it Guns Across America.
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It’s an image that Idaho has cultivated for generations. Its penetration in the national media is deep. In the latest James Bond flick, for example, when Bond returns to his ancestral manor in Scotland, he’s informed that the family armory has been sold off to a collector in Idaho.
Earlier this month, comedian Stephen Colbert launched the ill-fated Citadel development to national prominence: “Tonight I want to tell you about an exciting new real estate opportunity. It’s a walled and armed community of up to 7,000 families living on 3,000 acres in the mountains of Idaho called The Citadel. Not to be confused with the armed community of 1.5 million people living in the mountains of Idaho called … Idaho.” See Colbert report on The Citadel.
Inside the Idaho Statehouse on Saturday, families with children displayed their family weaponry—from hunting rifles and pistols to military-style firearms. The marble rotunda flooded with camouflage jackets and flags, and nary a counter protester. Boise portrait photographer Allan Ansell documented the event for The Blue Review.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of Boise State University, the Center for Idaho History and Politics, or the School of Public Service.