By editorial board • 

Now is not the time for another gun bill

Anyone who thinks Oregon is a blue state should scan the outrage expressed over a timid gun law proposal introduced as House Bill 4005.

The testimony served as a reminder that Oregon is a liberal state only because Portland represents 60% of its population, with a boost from Eugene and Corvallis.

Many rural residents turned a particularly vibrant shade of red during a hearing last Friday, at the thought they might have to secure their firearms with trigger or cable locks and keep them in locked containers or gun rooms. From the tenor of the opposition, one would think lawmakers planned to turn the nuclear launch codes over to Barbara Streisand.

Voices from Yamhill County were particularly vociferous, including those of County Commissioner Mary Starrett and her brother, Kevin Starrett, leader of the Oregon Firearms Federation.

The opposition narrative seemed to be that keeping firearms under lock enables the bad guys to get the drop. While you’re fumbling around for your keys, they’re wreaking carnage as they wish.

This hearkens back to old saw that if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. Of course, that would actually save a lot of lives, as you are far more likely to be killed by an enraged but otherwise law-abiding citizen than a home intruder harboring ill intent.

The real gun-toting menace you need to look out for is yourself.

Every year, about 100 American homicides stem from burglary attempts gone bad, according to the University of Chicago Crime Lab. That compares to 500 deaths due to negligent discharge of a firearm and 21,000 suicides by gunshot.

Statistics on gun deaths can be imprecise. But even if you quibble with the exact totals, the disparities here are still jarring.

Despite those statistics and the intentions to reverse them, we oppose this bill — for now, anyway. Oregon’s brief, even-year session is ill-suited to railroading through such a controversial and divisive piece of legislation.

It’s no time for the state’s dominant Democrats to throw their political weight around. As we — and many others — continue to preach, the short session is a time for housekeeping measures and fixing accounting problems. We should save the drama for next year’s regular session.

Sure, gun violence is an immediate problem. But the chances of getting any meaningful legislation passed in the next couple of weeks borders on the nonexistent. All House Bill 4005 does is raise rural blood pressure.

Because of America’s psychological fixation on guns, firearms bills keep getting watered down until they are virtually meaningless. And this bill is already virtually meaningless.

Lawmakers might as well ask people to take a pledge not to gun one another down in the street. Of course, even that would probably be decried as a violation of a basic American freedom.

A discussion on how to increase gun safety and decrease gun deaths is still worth having. As long as people continue to die by discharged bullets, it’s always worth having.

However, it can wait for another year. Legislators will have ample opportunity then to begin banging their heads against that wall again.

Comments

Joel

What the left leaning NR editorial board pejoratively calls "America’s psychological fixation on guns" the rest of us call "the 2nd amendment to the the US Constitution."

Joel

But I do appreciate the NR's sentiment that now is not the time to erode the constitutional rights of their fellow Americans.
Those of us on the right can return their magnanimity and say with a slow and solemn affirmative nod of our heads that despite all of the bad stuff we see in the media, now is just not the right time for violating their first amendment rights by putting restrictions on what newspapers can and can't print.

Drew1951

The 2nd amendment was written in the late 1700s when the most common firearm was a musket. A skilled musket shooter might be able to get off 4 rounds per minute. I seriously doubt that our founding fathers envisioned the weaponry we have today. Had they been able to do so, the second amendment would look vastly different.

Joel

Drew, The 1st amendment was written in the late 1700s when the most common means of communication or "press" was books and newspapers. A skilled author might be able to spread information about once a day if they worked for a news paper. I seriously doubt that our founding fathers envisioned the internet and twitter that we have today. Had they been able to do so, the first amendment would look vastly different.

Joel

Drew, I guess what i'm trying to say is that it's really not fair to play the "the constitution is outdated" card if you're only going to use that approach to discredit the part of the constitution that you don't like. When it comes to the constitution, it's really an all or nothing deal. I'm for keeping all of it.

Tuvey

"you are far more likely to be killed by an enraged but otherwise law-abiding citizen than a home intruder harboring ill intent.

The real gun-toting menace you need to look out for is yourself."

As someone who will have to wait at least 20 minutes for police to arrive at my house I take offense to these words. Am I to trust the invader of my home to leave me alone physically and mentally or will he /she have the time to torment me while I wait for help to arrive? I would much rather the POS who breaks into my home to be bleeding out on the floor than have the ability to cause me harm. I say Great Job! to the 100 homicides. There are 100 less burglars on the streets and those who are left have more to think about than a slap on the wrist from a judge.

Mudstump

It's very sad that we need a law to force people to do what they should be doing in the first place.