Stop Blaming Guns!

I fully support Oregonians’ right to own guns, even semi-automatic guns.  I am running for Oregon State House Representative.

Oregon House District 23, the district that I love, is a rural district. The people who live in the district are economically varied. The education level is equally varied. Geographically the district is long and knobby. It stretches along Highway 99 and meanders along small towns and even smaller towns. Most of us live outside of one of these towns.

Not surprisingly there are lots of guns in our district. I have spoken to many people re guns. They love their guns and fiercely defend their rights to own many guns of varied styles. Please don’t try to fit them in to a box. I have talked to several professionals who own multiple semi-automatic guns. Why, because they can and because they love them.  They love the way they feel. They love their shooting precision. They love the community of gun owners who target practice together. Yes, they hunt, but that is not the primary reason they give for owning a gun. There is also the need for personal protection when you live down a road away from police protection. The reasons for gun ownership are as varied as the people in the district.

I recently spent several hours with a couple who own many guns. They showed me the different style guns they own. They pulled them out of the gun safe like they were rare forms of art. The man of the household explained the mechanisms and the history of each gun. He is an expert target shooter. Ribbons and awards hung around his shop. He talked about the community of gun owners and the rich diversity of the makeup of the community.

He then walked me through the background search form. It is very detailed. In Oregon no gun, even at a gun show, can be purchased without the completion of this form. Fines for lying on this form are severe.

When people who live in the Metro area think of gun owners they imagine tatted up, druggies who are going to crazily shoot up schools and local hangouts. They picture criminals. I understand that bias. It is in the press and is part of the gun culture seen in television shows and movies. It sells. That description does not represent my neighbors.

The couple who gave me the “Gun 101 course” at their home have offered to take me to a shooting range. They are going to let me shoot their guns and meet their friends. I am looking forward to it.

Don’t throw the “baby out with the bath water.” The violent gun episodes taking place in our country and around the world are a symptom of a world out of balance. We need to look at the root causes of the gun violence, not the guns.

Gun owners are angry and feel maligned by the many people who lack the understanding of responsible gun ownership. Let us step back and consider what is going on and stop looking at guns as an easy target.


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