BELLEVUE., WA – After Washington State Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib refused to attend the “State of the State” address over concerns that the House chambers, where the speech was delivered, allows legally armed citizens in the public galleries, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms today called upon Habib to either apologize to the state’s gun owners, or step down.

“Cyrus Habib just insulted every law-abiding gun owner in the state,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “In particular, he should apologize to the more than 608,000 citizens who are licensed to carry concealed. These men and women not only carry for their own safety and the safety of their families, but for the safety of people like Habib, who mask their anti-gun extremism behind concern about ‘policy.’”

Habib reportedly admitted that there had been no specific threat to him or anyone else that he was aware of, but claimed his absence was about the policy of allowing legally-armed voters to watch their representatives at work.

There are two public galleries in the House chamber, one on each side. Habib, who is blind, reportedly claimed concerns that allowing armed citizens in those galleries makes him and other public officials more vulnerable. Gottlieb called that “extremist nonsense disguised as consideration for the safety of himself and his colleagues.”

“State senators and state representatives, Supreme Court justices and every other state official had the backbone to attend the governor’s speech, which included remarks about all the restrictions that have recently been placed on law-abiding gun owners,” he observed. “There were no nervous Nellies in the House chamber, only the one hiding in the Lieutenant Governor’s office.

“Instead of acting like a public official, Habib has suddenly become a poster child for paranoia,” Gottlieb added.

The nationally-recognized Second Amendment advocate wondered whether Habib has forgotten that the right of individual citizens to bear arms is enshrined in both the state and federal constitutions.

“If Cyrus Habib is that afraid of the public,” Gottlieb stated, “he should resign.”