Lynden removes law banning firearms in city parks

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDSeptember 17, 2013 

LYNDEN - The City Council is removing a law that banned people from carrying guns in Lynden's parks to bring the city into compliance with Washington state's "open-carry" law.

The council did so at its meeting Monday, Sept. 16.

The law had been on the city's books since 1921, Mayor Scott Korthuis said.

But an incident in which Bellingham Police Officer Allen Bass incorrectly detained John Laigaie III at gunpoint because he carried a holstered pistol in Bloedel-Donovan Park on Dec. 19, 2011, prompted Lynden to look at its own rules.

Laigaie, a retired U.S. Army master sergeant, filed a complaint and recently reached a $15,000 settlement with the city of Bellingham.

In Washington, an "open-carry" state, law-abiding citizens can carry firearms in an exposed holster in most public spaces without a concealed-pistol license.

Schools, courthouses and bars are among the handful of exceptions. But guns are allowed in parks.

Reach Kie Relyea at 360-715-2234 or kie.relyea@bellinghamherald.com.

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