Suicides Homicides Against Control

Due to the strlking number of opinions expressed since the Newtown massacre regarding impending gun legislation (more letters have been submitted to The Bulletin on this topic than on any other), this page is devoted to statements of gun advocacy

Second Amendment and Gun Advocacy

A well regulated Militia, being necessary for the security of a free State,
the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.

For data and opinions in support of gun control, click here

Congress and President Increases Access of Mentally Ill to Firearms

On February 28, President Trump signed a bill that permitted mentally-ill persons more access to firearms (by not requiring background checks if they are unable to sefl-manage financial affairs).  The measure negates the post-Sandy Hook legislation that required those mentally incapable of managing their finances to have a background check before being allow to purchase a firearm.

For the entire report, click title or npr logo

Gun Bill Should Be Defeated

By Stephen Clark, a Bend resident / In My View  /  The Bulletin  /  If you have read the entire text of proposed Senate Bill 941 and the statutes it proposes to amend, you might correctly conclude the devil is in the details. Lots of details that are very hard to figure out intentionally. I'd like to first state something obvious that legislators choose to ignore: Laws cannot prevent criminal behavior. Were this so there would be no crime.
Designed for popular consumption, ostensibly to close the gun show loophole, SB 941 is a copycat of the feel-good law recently passed in Washington state with backing of anti-Second Amendment billionaire ex-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Its purpose has nothing to do with the buzz phrases, enhancing public safety, or crime prevention, nor will it have any measurable effect in these areas. It has everything to do with incrementally making legal firearm ownership, use and transfer, even within your immediate family, by any means more onerous and costly while building a database of everyone who legally owns a firearm. It sets up a structure, similar to those in other gun-unfriendly states, that can be and is applied and abused by government authorities with the result (if not intent) of deterring and criminalizing legitimate ownership and ordinary uses of firearms by honest citizens. Criminals, of course, need not be concerned.  ...
That would never happen, you say. The police and courts would never be that unreasonable. Well, welcome to New Jersey where I lived for some time, where the laws, if not worded exactly as I quote SB 941, were similar to worse. It happened to a neighbor in my apartment building. Actually, they were lucky and, with a good lawyer, got off with fines and hefty legal fees but still had criminal records preventing them from ever legally owning firearms. Another neighbor at that time told me that a temporary police permit was actually required to even transport a firearm to a shooting range! Hey, that could be next as a tweak to SB 941, helping us all to be safer.
So, do you honestly believe the heavily financed legal minds that drafted the Washington state law, of which SB 941 is a clone, aren't aware of the subjectivity and probability for incremental, punitive interpretation of SB 941? How about the anti-gun legislators in Salem rushing this bill to a vote with as little time for review as possible? Haven't we seen this despicable behavior too much lately? This is the camel's nose under the tent stealth approach of deceitful politicians when honesty and truth simply wouldn't fly. They count on what was recently quoted as, the stupidity of the American voter, when their intent is to control all of us. For our own good, of course.
Defeat SB 941, or at least table it pending review and clarification.

M.I.T. and Other Colleges Accept Gun Lobby $

Gun Industry a Boost for College Shooting Clubs
By Michael S. Rosenwald  / Washington Post  /  March 15, 2015
                                                              For the full report, click title of Washington Post icon
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.  In between completing problem sets, writing code, organizing hackathons, worrying about internships and building solar cars, a group of MIT students make their way to the athletic center, where they stand side-by-side, load their guns and fire away. ... Before arriving at MIT, nearly all of them had never touched a gun or even seen one that wasn't on TV.  ...
MIT's pistol and rifle teams, which, like other college shooting teams, has benefited from the largesse of gun industry money and become so popular that they often turn students away. Teams are thriving at a diverse range of schools: Yale, Harvard, the University of Maryland, George Mason University, and even smaller schools such as Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania and Connors State College in Oklahoma.
"We literally have way more students interested than we can handle," said Steve Goldstein, one of MIT's pistol coaches.
While some collegiate teams date to the late 1800s, coaches and team captains say there is a surge of new interest from students, both male and female, finally away from their parents and curious to handle one of the country's most divisive symbols. Once they fire a gun, students say they find shooting relaxing at MIT, students call it "very Zen" and that it teaches focusing skills that help in class.
Some also find their perceptions about guns changing.
"I had a poor view, a more negative view of people who like guns than I do now," said Hope Lutwak, a freshman on MIT's pistol team. "I didn't understand why people enjoyed it. I just thought it was very violent."
And that's precisely what the gun industry hoped it would hear after spending the last few years pouring millions of dollars into collegiate shooting, targeting young adults just as they try out new activities and personal identities.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, a powerful firearms lobbying group, has awarded more than $1 million in grants since 2009 to start about 80 new programs. A couple who owns a large firearms accessories company founded the MidwayUSA Foundation, funding it with nearly $100 million to help youth and college programs, including MIT. The National Rifle Association organizes pistol and rifle tournaments, including the national championships next weekend in Fort Benning, Georgia.
Though industry groups distribute booklets to students counseling them on how to start programs and deal with reluctant administrators or communities tips: write letters to the editor in the school paper and sponsor bake sales officials say the teams haven't generated as much pushback as they expected. Shooting is even publicized as a recruiting and teaching tool.
Finding funding
is a varsity sport, competing in NCAA-managed matches with funding from the athletic department. The pistol team is a club sport, meaning it must get its funding elsewhere. For that, it relies heavily on the MidwayUSA Foundation, which sets up an account for each school that alumni or others donate to. The foundation then matches donations and invests the money. Teams can draw 5 percent of their funds each year. The pistol team's account balance is more than $363,000.

Airsoft Wars - A Safe Game?

Young participants, parents say rules keep play safe, fun
BEND, Ore. - The call of the battlefield beckons many in Bend. Bend Airsoft is hosting airsoft battles in an area clearly marked for the event. "I never knew it was going to be this much fun," said 13 year-old Daniel Stroemple. Ross Keys, founder of Bend Airsoft, said, "You get here once and you're hooked.," One of the key elements, on the field and off, is safety. Keys briefs everyone in the game on how to stay safe. "Treat your gun as if it's real -- don't point it at anybody, unless you're ready to shoot," Keys said. "It's not about being out here, pretending to kill people. We're out here to have fun, build teamwork and accomplish objectives." Education on firearm safety starts on the home front. "For me, I'd say it goes back to parents," Keys said. "Parents are responsible. They should be teaching their kids." In the case of the Seymours of Sisters, it was a learning experience for the whole family. "We didn't really know what it was when our son first started doing it," Jeff Seymour said. "We were pretty reluctant about it."
Jeff's 13 year-old son, Colten, is a two-year veteran of airsoft wars. At first, his parents, who don't own guns, were worried. "Our main concern was that he was playing with guns. Even though they were toy guns, there was still some concern," Seymour said. "But once we started to understand the safety precautions he was taking, we became more comfortable with it. The only way to stay on the battlefield is to know the rules. We do treat it as a real firearm," Daniel said. "We keep the barrel towards the ground, magazine out. When transporting it, keep them in a gun bag so they're not mistaken." "With real guns looking fake and fake guns looking real, officers have to assume the worst. In a quick exchange, you don't really have time to assess whether or not what you're looking at is a real firearm or not," said Deschutes County sheriff's patrol Capt. Erik Utter. "If their intent is to raise that and shoot at you, you will be behind the 8-ball every time." "How you act with a weapon can be the difference between life and death - mentality engrained on the airsoft battlefield. "If we saw a police officer, we would probably put our guns down, raise our hands, to let him know that we aren't actually armed," Colten said. Where you are with a weapon, real or fake, can be just as important. "I think you have to take into consideration what the circumstances of the call are," Utter said. "If I get a call of a suspicious person hanging around a school, that's going to elevate my level of concern, vs. 'Hey, there's a suspicious guy along the perimeter of the woods who looks like he may have a firearm.' With an all too real-looking weapon, it's all too easy to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. "The kids aren't allowed to run around town playing airsoft. Plain and simple," Seymour said. Keys said, "If you're out walking around town with an airsoft gun, that's a bad move." Parents of the young airsoft veterans say they believe that with all safety precautions in place, a backyard battlefield beats the one on the couch. "Screen time, I think, in our society is completely unregulated," Seymour said. "I think kids experience way too much screen time. When he comes back from these things, he's completely exhausted. That's another reason why I am 100 percent for it. It's a great way to be outside and be active, and it's a really fun thing to do."

Gun Proposal (in Medford) Being Studied (and Shot Down)

The Associated Press  /  Mar 18, 2014
Also published in The Bulletin  /  March 18, 2014
MEDFORD  The Ashland City Council oversaw a public hearing Tuesday night on a proposal to ban people from openly carrying loaded guns in public.
When it was first proposed, the measure drew threats of a lawsuit and of a boycott of the Southern Oregon tourist town, but the council has backed away from provisions that would regulate gun storage. Carrying a loaded gun in public is legal in Oregon, so long as it's not concealed. In that case, the gun owner needs a permit. But local jurisdictions can require that guns carried openly be unloaded, and a number reportedly have.
Portland is among them, and the state Supreme Court has upheld that provision, said Ashland City Attorney David Lohman.A group called Citizens for a Safe Ashland proposed the ordinance and called for the city to regulate gun storage to ensure that weapons are kept out of the hands of youngsters. The storage provision drew the most objections. Gun rights advocates said Oregon law reserves that authority for the state government. Lohman said it could cost more than $150,000 to defend such a provision in court.Police said anyone who wants to carry a gun to the council meeting at the Ashland Civic Center must have a concealed carry permit, because it's a public building.
During a previous session on the gun legislation, gun rights advocates brought their openly displayed guns to the meeting, leading to an argument outside between opponents and proponents of the proposed gun regulations. Council members have a number of options besides passing the proposed ordinance. Among them are referring proposed gun regulations to the voters, petitioning the Legislature for action or even adopting a declaration that Ashland does not welcome people carrying loaded weapons in public.

Don't Blame Weapon in Suicide

By Zeke Duge of Sisters  /  My Nickel's Worth  /  The Bulletin  /  Mar 15, 2014
For full letter, click title +75 cents
To read the original oped, pull down Hot!Topics, select Suicides - Oregon Ranked 2nd and read Suicide is Valid Reason to Reduce Firearm Availability
I am saddened by Dr. Archie Bleyers March 8 opinion piece "Suicide is a valid reason to reduce firearm availability" in The Bulletin. It appears the Bleyer believes that if the government takes away firearms from the general public, suicide rates will go down. I disagree: Suicide is the most personal act an individual can commit. The method of carrying out that decision is of no consequence. I have lost my grandfather (pistol) and favorite uncle (rifle) to suicide. I firmly believe with help, possibly medication and support, this would not have happened, but I do not blame the weapons.
It annoys me that Bleyer chooses to prey on those unfortunates who suffer from demons we do not know to advance an agenda promoting gun control under the guise of helping reduce suicide and public suffering. In the second paragraph of his opinion piece, he identifies another strategy for expanding background checks by addressing in the media self-inflicted harm by attempted suicide. This is reprehensible! To use the suffering of those of us who are left to advance an agenda that does not attempt to alleviate, reduce, improve or assuage the tragedy, but to capitalize on that suffering only to promote personal goals, should be condemned by every human on this planet. ...

Record Gun Production During Obama Term as Buyers Stock Up

By Del Quentin Wilber  /  Bloomberg News  /  February 21, 2014
Also published by The Bulletin  /  February 21, 2014          
For the full report, click here +75 cents
WASHINGTON  U.S. gun makers led by Sturm Ruger & Co. and Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. churned out a record number of firearms in 2012, government data show, continuing a trend of robust production during Democratic presidencies. More than 8.57 million guns were produced in 2012, up 31 percent from 6.54 million in 2011, according to data released this week by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which has been tracking the statistics since 1986. Almost as many guns, 26.1 million, were produced during Democrat Barack Obama�s first term as president as during the entire eight-year presidency of his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, the ATF data show. Advocates on both sides of the gun-control debate said manufacturers were meeting demand fueled by concerns among gun owners that Democratic presidents are more willing to limit firearms sales than Republicans. After years of steering clear of the issue, Obama pressed unsuccessfully last year for stricter gun measures in the wake of the 2012 massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.The production boom has resulted in strong sales and profits for gun companies, including Sturm & Ruger and Smith & Wesson.
"Barack Obama is the stimulus package for the firearms industry," said Dave Workman, senior editor of Gun Mag, a print and online publication of the Second Amendment Foundation, a gun-ownership rights group. "The greatest irony of the Obama administration is that the one industry that he may not have really liked to see healthy has become the healthiest industry in the United States.
Brian Malte, senior policy director of the Washington-based Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said gun-rights groups "demonized" Obama during the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, leading many gun owners to buy more firearms.
"We see the percentage of households owning guns declining," he said, "and that indicates that those who already own guns are buying more of them." Other factors may also be driving gun demand, including Supreme Court decisions striking down gun restrictions, a spread of laws allowing people to carry concealed weapons and the increasingly popularity of sport shooting, said Mike Bazinet, spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade organization that represents gun and ammunition manufacturers.  "It defies any simple characterization," he said. ...
Obama isn't the only Democratic president to see a spike in gun production. More than 33 million firearms were manufactured during Democrat Bill Clinton's two terms, which was more than the 28 million produced during Bush's presidency. Just over 16 million firearms were manufactured during Republican George H.W. Bush's single term. Clinton antagonized gun-rights groups by pressing for stricter gun control. He signed legislation mandating background checks on firearm purchases and a ban on assault weapons. The ban expired in 2004. ...

Gun Control Hearing is Emotionally Charged

Expanding Background Checks Discussed at Legislature           For full report, click title +75 cents
By Lauren Dake / The Bulletin  /  Feb 7, 2014  
SALEM  Armed state police officers stood at the ready at the Capitol on Thursday as lawmakers listened to testimony on one of the more emotionally charged measures of the short legislative session: expanding background checks on firearm sales. The measure, Senate Bill 1551, would require background checks on gun sales between private parties. Proponents said it closes one of the final loopholes working toward ensuring guns aren't sold to felons. Opponents argued it moves toward creating a gun registry and would hurt law-abiding citizens.  ...
Gov. John Kitzhaber testified on behalf of the bill, calling it a "reasonable step." "This one bill can't completely erase gun violence, Kitzhaber said. But expanding criminal background checks, the governor said, goes toward ensuring "guns don't fall into the wrong hands."
The governor was joined on a panel by Mark Kelly, the husband of Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head while serving as an Arizona congresswoman. Kelly told the committee that Oregon and Arizona have several similarities: the Western spirit, an appreciation for hunting and gun ownership, and unfortunately, the shared experience of public mass shootings.
Kelly said it's "too dangerous to wait," and it's time to pass the measure. When dangerous people have guns, he said, "We're all vulnerable.
Opponents of the bill, including Dan Reid, a representative with the National Rifle Association, said the measure would not prevent felons from getting guns. It won't make any difference in stopping mass tragedies, Reid said, calling it "ineffective and unenforceable."
Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, the key backer of the measure, shot back.  If the NRA's policy is "guns don't kill people, people kill people," Prozanski asked Reid, why wouldn't expanded background checks to help keep guns out of felons" hands be the right move, he asked.  ...
Rep. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer, said that only law-abiding citizens are affected when gun control laws are passed.
"Why is there a belief that if we just have one more law, one more law, we can prevent more creeps from getting a gun?" she said.  They don't care "if we pass one more law."
Jenna Passalacqua, whose mother, Cindy Yuille, was fatally shot at Clackamas Town Center near Portland, told lawmakers it's been a year since her mother died and "nothing has changed."
She urged lawmakers to pass this measure. "The fact this is the strongest bill we have on the table right now is an embarrassment," she said.
The committee did not vote on the bill. Although a similar measure did not make it to the floor for a vote in the last legislative session, Prozanski has said he is confident the Senate will vote on the measure in the coming weeks.

Oregon is One of Only 11 States That Passed No Legislation on Gun Control

State Gun Laws Enacted in the Year Since Newtown / New York Times / December 10, 2013
For full report, click the title
About 1,500 state gun bills have been introduced since the Newtown massacre 12 months ago. 178 passed at least one chamber of a state legislature. 109 have become law. 70 of the new laws ease restrictions and expand the rights of gun owners. 39 restricted gun purchase or use. Most of those bills were approved in states controlled by Republicans. Those who support stricter regulations won some victories mostly in states where the legislature and governorship are controlled by Democrats to increase restrictions on gun use and ownership.

Oregon is one of only 11 states that have not passed any legislation on gun control.  The others are Georgia, Iowa, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

Gun Rights and Pot's Acceptance Collide

By Chad Garland / The Associated Press  /  February 6, 2014
Also published in The Bulletin  /  February 6, 2014
         For full report, click title +75 cents
SALEM  Getting caught with a little marijuana won't prevent you from getting a concealed handgun license in Oregon. That is, if it happened in the state and after 1973.
Oregon law generally prohibits people with drug convictions from obtaining a permit to carry a concealed handgun. But it makes an exception for those with one minor pot conviction that occurred in Oregon after the state reduced the severity of possession charges four decades ago.
"Someone caught in another state with an identical amount of marijuana and convicted under that state's laws could not be granted a license under the current law. It's a quirk in the way the law is written, said Darrell Fuller, general manager of the Oregon State Sheriff's Association. Oregon county sheriffs are responsible for issuing the concealed handgun licenses.
But Fuller said it doesn't make sense to treat a conviction differently just because it happened in another state. In an attempt to address this "issue of fundamental fairness," the sheriff's association wrote a bill that would remove the barrier for people with out-of-state convictions seeking permission to carry a concealed handgun.
"We won't discriminate against foreigners," Fuller said.  ...

Sheriffs Refuse to Enforce Laws on Gun Control

By Erica Goode  /  New York Times  /  December 15, 2013     For the full report, click the title
GREELEY, Colo. ...  Colorado's package of gun laws, enacted this year after mass shootings in Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn., has been hailed as a victory by advocates of gun control. But if Sheriff Cooke and a majority of the other county sheriffs in Colorado offer any indication, the new laws which mandate background checks for private gun transfers and outlaw magazines over 15 rounds  may prove nearly irrelevant across much of the state's rural regions.  Some sheriffs, like Sheriff Cooke, are refusing to enforce the laws, saying that they are too vague and violate Second Amendment rights. Many more say that enforcement will be "a very low priority," as several sheriffs put it. All but seven of the 62 elected sheriffs in Colorado signed on in May to a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the statutes.
A Federal District Court judge last month ruled against a claim in the sheriffs' lawsuit that one part of the magazine law was unconstitutionally vague. The judge also ruled that while the sheriffs could sue as individuals, they had no standing to sue in their official capacity.
Still, the state's top law enforcement officials acknowledged that sheriffs had wide discretion in enforcing state laws.
�We�re not in the position of telling sheriffs and chiefs what to do or not to do,� said Lance Clem, a spokesman for the Colorado Department of Public Safety. �We have people calling us all the time, thinking they�ve got an issue with their sheriff, and we tell them we don�t have the authority to intervene.�
"... Sheriff Cooke, for his part, said that he was entitled to use discretion in enforcement, especially when he believed the laws were wrong or unenforceable.
�In my oath it says I�ll uphold the U.S. Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Colorado,� he said, as he posed for campaign photos in his office � he is running for the State Senate in 2014. �It doesn�t say I have to uphold every law passed by the Legislature.�

[Note: The sheriffs have made no public comment since, 8 days after this report appeared, an 18 year-old purchased a firearm, stormed Arapahoe High School in Colorado, and killed a fellow student. The high school is within 10 miles of Columbine High School and the Aurora Movie Theater, sites of prior massacres by firearm.  Greeley, Colorado, Sheriff Cooke's town, is 50 miles away.] 

Proposed Gun Control Legislation Seems to do Little

The Editors  /  The Bulletin  /  Jan 11, 2014               For full editorial, click the title +75 cents
Oregon state Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, is back at it. When the Legislature convenes next month, he plans to introduce a bill to expand background checks on gun purchasers. Prozanski supported a similar proposal in 2013. Like the other three gun-control measures before lawmakers last year, it went nowhere.
Currently, Oregon requires background checks on those who purchase guns at gun shows and from gun dealers. Prozanskis bill would expand that requirement to all gun sales except those between family members. Thus, private-party sales arranged through newspaper advertisements or online would have to include background checks on purchasers.  The checks themselves are relatively simple to obtain the state police operate the Firearms Instant Check System that checks potential purchasers backgrounds for $10 a pop. The system operates from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day but Thanksgiving and Christmas and can be reached by telephone.
All of that sounds good, no doubt. No one wants to allow convicted criminals or those with mental problems to own guns, after all. In reality, however, enforcing a dramatically expanded background check law is likely to be an exercise in futility. Police agencies are not currently equipped to track sales offers in newspapers and on the Internet. Unless they do so, its unlikely theyll know someone failed to get the required background check. This change is also unlikely to do anything to stop criminals. ...

Gun Debate Extends Teach of Colorado Recall Races

New York Times  /  September 3. 2013   Also published by The Bulletin
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City and billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad have each donated hundreds of thousands of dollars. The National Rifle Association is buying political advertisements. New York states junior senator sent a fundraising email. And the election has attracted news coverage from as far away as Sweden. All this over a homegrown campaign to oust two Democratic state senators who provided crucial support for a package of strict new state gun control laws. As the recall elections the first of their kind in Colorados history draw closer, the race has swelled from a local scuffle into a proxy battle in the nations wrenching fight over gun control. Overall, both sides have dedicated about $2 million to the campaigns, most of it in support of the two senators: John Morse, the president of the Colorado Senate, and Angela Giron, who represents the Southern Colorado city of Pueblo. That might not seem large compared with the multimillion-dollar governors races that can be commonplace across the country these days. But the money and the attention have transformed an off-year campaign that started with homemade signs and volunteers collecting signatures in grocery store parking lots. Voters say they are being bombarded with telephone calls and pamphlets, radio and television commercials. Each day seems to bring a new procedural battle: over the language on the recall ballot, how the vote will be conducted or which candidates will appear as possible replacements. Morse, who represents Colorado Springs, and Giron each have one Republican challenger on the ballot.

In Favor of Firearms

Excerpts from The Bulletin's My Nickel's Worth and In My View in favor of firearms
Since Newtown, no other topic has had as many letters sent to The Bulletin's Editors.
Click logo or here (+75 cents if not a Bulletin subscriber) to access original letter

Cars and hammers also kill  by Thomas Nitcher of Bend (April 21. 2013)
In response to Jim Hauser�s article in the March 6 My Nickel�s Worth: In 2010, there were 5,419,000 police-reported traffic accidents, in which 32,885 people were killed [editor: these deaths occurred by accident, and it is a primary reason cars and drivers are required to be licensed; 99% of the 30,000 deaths by gun each year are not accidents]* ... . An average of 90 people died each day [editor: same as number by guns, and an average of 89 of the 90 deaths by gun are deliberate, not accidents]. Should we insist that The Bulletin refrain from listing vehicles in the classifieds? ... Last year almost twice the number of people were killed with a hammer than with a rifle [editor: this is grossly incorrect; In 2011 496 persons were killed in the U.S. with a blunt object, including hammers]. Should The Bulletin be forced from posting tools in the classifieds? ... One can purchase a vehicle or a hammer without a background check. What a stellar idea. There are no restrictions that I am aware of that prevent a felon from buying tools, vehicles, or obtaining a driver�s license.
*[Note: only this letter has any editor comments, since the data presented are remarkably erroreous]

Profiling gun owners  
by Doug Hoffman of Roseburg (April 17. 2013)
Is profiling no longer a bad thing? I am amazed that community leaders choose to target gun owners based on the type of legal firearm they possess. I was not allowed to target individuals as a police officer. ... we see unrestricted profiling by community and legislative leaders projected as a justifiable way to respond to insane acts of individuals. They seek to restrict or eliminate legal firearms possession, and act to make otherwise lawful individuals into criminals  ,,, As a retired law enforcement officer, I recognize that this type of response is inappropriate, and based entirely on an ideological agenda. It constitutes a violation of personal freedoms and guaranteed protections. This action leads to citizen unrest, and will ultimately boil down to police/citizen conflicts in our communities. It is important that citizens and police maintain cohesion of trust and professional respect. The recently formed Retired Law Enforcement Officers Alliance ( is an organization founded to allow retired officers in Oregon communities to work with citizen groups, community leaders and public administrators addressing concerns of trust and responsibility. ...

Enforce gun laws we have  by Delbert Linn of La Pine (April 13, 2013)
... There are about two million people a year who are not crime victims because they were armed. There need to be trained armed guards in our schools.  People who oppose armed guards in schools have not come up with anything that will work. A person who is bent on doing a mass killing will not follow any laws. I support the Nation Rifle Association position on school safety. The new gun laws I heard proposed are a waste of time. One father of a Sandy Hook victim supports the National Rifle Association position.

Gun control issues  by Coffin of La Pine (April 9. 2013)
... Oregon�s Legislature is holding public testimony on four measures on gun control. I highly agree with one. It�s requiring a shooting test; if you can�t hit a two-by-two target at 20 or 25 yards with six shots out of six, you won�t be issued a handgun permit.  All the other measures seem to be the same old hat. ... All this is gunsmoke by the lawmakers. New gun laws will not prevent gun violence. Bad guy that goes out and shoots up a school, a bus, store or a church gets his days or weeks in court. Maybe life in prison. He gets free meals, free doctor and medical care, clean clothes and a warm room. He�s alive, warm, clean and well. Who pays? We do. Appears we are the victims. Again!

New gun laws won�t stop acts of criminal insanity by Clint Decker of Terrebonne (April 9, 2013)
...   I don�t understand how telling criminals and misfits that it is now even more illegal is going to help. Maybe we will feel better about ourselves, and think that in the past the rules weren�t as meaningful. But now we really mean that it is illegal to kill innocent people, and that it is really illegal now to commit crime with a handgun, and that now the convicted felons really can�t have guns, etc. I worry that the criminals and mental misfits really won�t care! Some criminals have killed their own mothers to get guns, or whatever justification the killer felt for the heinous crime. ... We can guide and direct how we want people to act, but I don�t know that we can make the misfits behave as we believe they should.

Another view of "Friends of NRA"  by Thomas Nitcher of Bend (March 19. 2013, in reply to prior Letter)
.. the National Rifle Association banquet ... is being held by Friends of NRA. This organization is nonpolitical ... 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The money it raises goes for local grant funding in areas such as youth firearm safety and education programs, hunter education, range development and improvement, women�s training seminars and wildlife conservation efforts. Last month, the Friends of NRA granted $240,000 here in Oregon for: 10 NRA high school scholarships, seven 4-H Junior shooting and archery programs, Oregon Paralyzed Veterans of America, The Eddie Eagle Gun Safe Program, Oregon State University, high school JROTC programs, Boy Scouts of America (Cub Scout archery and air rifle training, Boy Scout summer camp archery, shotgun and .22 rifle), ranges and gun safety programs. ... If one would like to protest this fundraising banquet, it�s your right. The 24 years (the better years of my life) that I served this country in the military so that one can say what they want, protest what they want, helped make it so.

Abortions kill more babies than guns do.  By Alice Miles of Bend (March 15. 2013 )
... We are told the �right to own a gun also comes with responsibilities." Wow, �responsibilities," now that is a word we don�t hear very often. How about if we apply �responsible" to other situations, like your sex life? Get pregnant because you didn�t take precautions? Be �responsible" for the baby. You don�t want the baby? Give it up for adoption! Gabby Giffords said, �our children deserve nothing less." ... because children are killed by a deranged person who did not have legal access to guns, everyone who owns guns must comply with whatever gun restrictions can be rammed through Congress. Abortion has killed many more millions of babies than those killed at Newtown. Killing babies is killing babies!

It's safer if I can protect myself  By Grant Parrish of La Pine (March 16. 2013)
In regard to Dennis and Valerie Wood�s letter to the editor from March 2, they are worried about their own, as well as everyone else�s, safety when they go to malls, theaters, grocery stores or whatever, because these places allow those with concealed weapons permits to also visit these places. If we ban people with concealed weapons permits from these places because they may have firearms on them, the only thing accomplished is that we have banned law-abiding citizens from carrying guns in said area. If criminals want to carry concealed firearms on themselves into these places, they will, concealed permits or no concealed permits. Just like they always have.  ... I feel a whole lot safer myself knowing I do have the right to protect myself anywhere, any place.

The Second Amendment shoud not be infringed by Rebecca Wagner of Powell Butte (March 10, 2013)
...  guess what is happening to the Second Amendment: All the restrictions, prohibitions and regulations the anti-gun movement has already implemented or wants to implement are INFRINGING on it. They are encroaching, acting so as to limit or undermine, making gradual inroads against the Second Amendment. Until or unless this is changed, not by �executive order," but legally and through the proper congressional channels and ratified by the states, there is nothing in the Second Amendment about what type, quality or quantity of �arms" �the people" may bear, and any attempt to limit citizens� access, type, quality or quantity of arms is an obvious infringement of the Second Amendment, and it must not be tolerated. I have seen three quotes recently that indicate the authors of the amendment defined �militia" as the total citizenry, and that the purpose of the amendment was to give citizens parity with the government�s military as a safeguard against tyranny. ... think about this: If gun control proponents manage to circumvent the U.S. Constitution and Congress by passing the proposed gun ban, and if our government moves from the proposed universal registration to nominal criminalization of the citizenry who refuse to �voluntarily" turn in their weapons (and there will be millions), and if the government then moves on to enforced confiscation, we will see in this country many more incidents of shameful government abuse and atrocities such as Waco and Ruby Ridge. This is becoming obvious to many reasonable people who are becoming fearful of an ever larger more dictatorial government. ...

Help the sick, mentally ill  by Melvin Coffin of La Pine (March 08. 2013)
Guns, guns, guns. Not one gun has ever killed a person. People kill people. Registering a gun, background checks or whatever the laws require won�t stop killings. ... I haven�t heard anything about helping the sick, mentally ill or disturbed persons who can get their hands on a gun from their home closet or dresser drawer and go out and kill a group of people. These assault rifles or handguns belong to mom, dad or big brother. Let�s start doing something to help these sick people, not make more laws that won�t work and that are often overturned by our courts. Our doctors all have different ideas and reasons for these disturbed and ill people killing. ... People get mad at the drop of the hat at things that don�t go their way. No self-control. Guns are our responsibility. We are in control. Not the government. If they get control, we lose.

Misinformed on Second Amendment by Lance Neibauer of Bend (March 5. 2013)
... The term �a well regulated militia" goes back to 13th century England, when all landowners were required to possess a longbow and be �regulated," or be accurate and trained with it, and teach all sons the �regulated" use of it beginning at age 7. And �militia" referred to the able-bodied citizenry, not a military body. ... The �well regulated militia" statement was fashioned from the Virginia folks, while �the right to keep and bear arms" was derived primarily from Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. They were quite separate terms which became combined in the Second Amendment. Make no mistake: the Second Amendment was meant to mean that the able-bodied citizenry shall always possess the right to keep and bear arms, which shall not be infringed on. Remember, crazy people don�t care at all about more laws that infringe on law-abiding citizens.

Local gun regulations are needed by Bill Saling of Redmond (February 23, 2013)
Regarding Ed Barbeau�s recent letter to the editor concerning gun controls: ... Unfortunately, gun possession and usage is a highly emotional subject to most people. Your letter, however, stresses facts, not emotions. If we feel that we must control gun possession and usage, fine, but do it logically. Just as in the use of a car where society requires a license issued by a recognized authority to handle its use, set up a similar gun hierarchy. As with auto use, their abuse would cause forfeiture until the owner is re-certified.
A child given a complex toy to play with will often abuse and break it due to frustration. A parent who teaches them how to use the toy will enjoy the child�s long-term delight. The same would apply with weapons. The downside of this suggestion is the cost of monitoring its usage. An appropriate license fee that would fund the system�s lineage would be essential, and abuse of rules featuring forfeiture of the weapon mandatory. ,,,

Misinformtion abounds on guns, Second Amendment  by Ed Barbeau of Bend (February 15, 2013)
If you repeat a lie often enough it becomes truth," said Joseph Goebbels. This is the way some of the writers of anti-gun letters sound to me. It�s amazing how the truth about our Founding Fathers� reasons for the Second Amendment are twisted into something bearing no semblance of reality.  For example, one of our most anti-gun letter writers brings up machine guns and bazookas or rocket launchers and says we have no right to own them. Well, if you have a class three license, you actually can own machine guns. One lie corrected. ... a semi-automatic rifle is not an �assault rifle." No military would use that as such. They only use fully automatic rifles. Another lie corrected. ... Sadly, some writers think that guns are the problem and should be forceably taken away from law-abiding citizens, or, at the very least, forceable registration and regulation of gun type should exist.  Since this has been done in England and Australia, can we look at them to see what the results would be? They totally confiscated guns; however, home invasions have tripled and gun violence by gangs is on the rise.  ... I have one message to all of the fluffy bunnies out there who hate guns: You may not believe in God, it�s your right; you may not believe in the right to own a gun, it�s your choice. But if someone enters your home late at night, the first two things you�ll do is call someone with a gun and pray they get there in time.

Gun control and prohibition by Anne Graham of Redmond (February 14, 2013)
As I read The New York Times article on Chicago�s woes with guns (Monica Davey, The Bulletin, Jan. 31), I was struck by a thought that this whole debate might be informed by a history lesson review of Prohibition in the United States. ... The intent of Prohibition to improve �health and morals" was not measurable, but the rise of criminal control of alcohol production and sales certainly was measurable and was the clearly demonstrable result. ... The article�s implication that Davey�s Gun Shop is somehow a key contributor to 20 percent of Chicago�s gun violence is completely spurious � and I hope no one buys into such a fallacious suggestion ... . I have to imagine that expanding Chicago-like controls across the nation would be similar to Prohibition: a vigorous black market in guns would rise just as bootlegging and its criminal gangs rose in Prohibition. Criminals would still have and use their guns ...

Emotion clouds reality when it comes to guns by Al Phillips of Prineville (February 14, 2013)
... more �gun control" is needed. Nonsense! ... I will concede that little harm would come from making some weapons more difficult to obtain. But I will not concede that doing so will help reduce gun violence. Simply attacking the supply side of firearms does little more than compromise the Second Amendment, and we must not forget that the Second Amendment is about the right to protect ourselves � a right, by the way, that could be compromised to the point of oblivion. A recent email stated: A gun and a parachute are alike in that if you ever need one and don�t have one, chances are almost certain you�ll never need one again. Beware, friends, of what politicians and others are advocating.

Best defense is a responsible armed person by Nils Kristiansen of Bend (February 15, 2013)
... You may know that the Obama administration is trying to pass laws to find out all who have weapons with registration laws. I think we forget history, as it was an armed populace that kept Japan from attacking the mainland of the United States. It was an armed populace that got us freedom from the king of England, and the Second Amendment is there so citizens can protect themselves from an overreaching government. The best defense against a deranged person with a gun is a responsible person with a gun. Millions of responsible concealed carry owners stop crimes every day, and most times they do not have to fire their weapons. ... Imagine if concealed carry was allowed on planes and the pilots were armed. Would 9/11 have succeeded? ... All shootings that have been in schools and theaters were in places where concealed carry was not allowed. Hasan knew the soldiers at Fort Hood were not armed. The fact is our weapon superiority has kept the U.S. from being attacked ...

Gun comments miss the point by William Logan of Bend (February 12, 2013)
Almost every day since the tragic shooting in Newtown, Conn., I read editorials in the newspaper and comments from pundits on cable news channels about gun control. Cliff Shrock�s �My Nickel�s Worth" and J. Andrew Hamlin�s �In My View" Feb. 2 miss the point. The Second Amendment was written to prevent government tyranny. Gun control legislation is not about guns � like government-controlled health care, it�s about control. The same government tyranny that threatened freedoms 238 years ago still applies today. Thomas Jefferson said, �When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny." Today, we are about as close to a tyrannical government as we can get. The government has its controlling hands in almost everything. In New York City, soft drinks bigger than 16 ounces are illegal. The Second Amendment does not say, �A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, if I am fingerprinted, photographed, register the firearm with the state from a private sale, checked for mental illness, have a revolver or have less than a 10-round magazine." The solution to gun control is simple: amend the Second Amendment and add all the restrictions above; but I doubt seriously that the American public, not just the NRA, would approve. Once they take away your right to bear arms, what�s next?

Asleep in history class  by Starla J. Sprague of Prineville (February 12, 2013)
Good citizens of Central Oregon, I am wondering what law you think Crook County Sheriff Jim Hensley has broken. Were some of you asleep during American history in high school?  Any natural-born citizen of the United States, sworn into any high government office, takes an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America. He or she should know the Constitution forward, backward and inside out. The Second Amendment says �the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Article five of the Constitution says the only way to change any part of the Constitution is by vote of two-thirds of both houses. No one president, Democrat or Republican, can change any of the Constitution by an executive order. In other words, an executive order does not supersede the Constitution. If or when two-thirds of both houses vote to change the Second Amendment, it would appear to me that Hensley, and many other sheriffs in the country, would be breaking the law!

Enforce existing gun laws  by Jim Fleming of La Pine (February 12, 2013
I have to agree with the letters that were in The Bulletin Feb. 2. At the time the Second Amendment was proposed, there were only single-shot rifles and pistols, but everybody had the same thing. I, for one, would not have liked to use a musket when I was in Vietnam, and I am sure the WWII veterans would not have wanted the muskets either. If you want to defend yourself, you would want a modern weapon. Just because a rifle looks like an assault rifle does not mean it is one. Military assault weapons are fully automatic, and since the 1930s it has been against the law to own one. All I ask is that the government enforce the laws that are on the books already. Any government that makes you register your guns can take them away. If you don�t believe me, look at history. The Second Amendment was put in the Constitution for the people to defend themselves against outlaws and others that would do them harm, also for hunting, to feed their families. The most important reason was to protect themselves against a tyrannical government.

Teachers should carry guns  by Drake Buckmaster of Bend, a 6th Grader (February 05. 2013)
I�m a sixth-grader at Cascade Middle School. I�ve been hearing a lot about the gun control issue. The news reporters are introducing the anti-gun people as pro-safety people and the others as pro-gun people. I don�t really think that�s fair. My opinion is that a gun is a tool. In this country, guns are not allowed on school grounds; the man who caused the shooting in Connecticut broke that law, so what stops him from breaking a law not to have gun at all? And if you take guns away from good people, how will they defend themselves against bad people that will get guns anyway? Police can�t protect us; they show up after the crime is over.  I wish my teachers carried guns. I�d feel a lot safer.

Paradoxical call to grow up  by Pam Johnson of Bend (February 03. 2013)
Did it strike anyone else as paradoxical that Jake Buehler, in his Jan. 19 In My View [abstracted above], concludes his diatribe against conservative pundits and Christians with a call to grow up? That was just before he takes his parting shot at those who give in to religious superstition and engage in what is effectively a modern form of paying close attention to animal entrails for prophetic purposes? How lovely. And how terribly juvenile.  I tend to expect adult behavior to be more civil. Those who worship at the throne of reason are too often woefully ignorant of the substance of Christianity, of exegesis or hermeneutics, of the substance that calls minds such as Ravi Zacharias to the Christian faith. We Christians aren�t all ignorant, paranoid or preposterous as assumed.  Enough, indeed. I agree that it is time to grow up and perhaps someday we may discuss gun control as rational adults.

Gun control discussion by Craig McDonald, Madras (January 20. 2013)
... What has not come up in any media coverage that I have seen or read has been discussion about punishing those who use weapons of any kind to commit violence against another person. It may be true that I don�t need an AK-15 or 30-round magazine for hunting, but if I obey existing law and cause no one any harm, what is the problem? There are plenty of laws regarding gun ownership � if laws are ignored, what good are they? If those laws are not enforced, and the consequences of breaking those laws are not significant enough to make a difference, that�s where we are now!

Gun debate observations  by Michael R. Pritchard of Bend (January 31. 2013)
Comparing motor vehicle deaths to those caused by firearms is a false equivalent. A car�s main purpose is transportation. A gun�s main purpose is killing. When used as directed, a car is safe. When used as directed, a gun kills a living being, animal or human.
Prayer: There�s no law capable of preventing an omnipotent God from being in a classroom. If He gets his nose bent out of shape, allows innocent children to be slaughtered because I�m not required to engage in a state-sanctioned ego stroke, maybe you should rethink His omnipotence and love. Building a database of mentally ill is a violation of HIPAA law and will backfire. Many handgun deaths involve domestic violence. If you�re having problems in your marriage, will you risk or be honest in treatment? As a gun owner, I�d be less likely to report depression to my doctor for fear I�ll have my handgun confiscated. Asking me not to own high capacity clips for my Glock does not equate to my Glock being confiscated. It means I should engage in more target practice, and use my laser sight. I�ve already undergone two background checks. Both times, I was able to complete my purchase. Armed good guys mostly catch bad guys after the fact, not before.Just ask a cop or crime victim.

Carrying a firearm is a citizen�s first line of defense  by Lyle Byler, Prineville (January 18. 2013)
It is ... absurd to believe more gun control laws will have any effect on bad people. ... There are many men and women who shoot military weapons in competitions. To ban those weapons and the high-capacity magazines that go with them, would not only deny them their right to compete in their sport of choice but would also deprive everyone else from owning the rifle of their choice, which is guaranteed under the Second Amendment of the Constitution. ... those who are most passionate about gun control are those who have never been to a shooting range, gotten the proper training or actually shot a firearm of any kind and are therefore afraid of what they do not know.
We, the people, are our own first line of defense and we each have the God-given right to protect ourselves and others from harm. ... In the grand scheme of things, it really is not about guns, it is about control.

Government by crisis  by Toby Wilson, La Pine (January 17. 2013)
The American people are continually sold a crisis by this administration, for no other reason than to promote his personal agenda. Obama�s former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said, �Never allow a crisis to go to waste." Given the track record, this is a philosophy the administration strictly adheres to. Now we hear the gun control mantra. Even though there are far more deaths caused by other means, he has the media hysteria to promote a cause long dear to his heart. Be aware, gun owners, we might find another bill signed by Obama that is only a fraction of what was promised, and a whole lot more. Oh, according to the CBO, the new tax bill adds a trillion dollars a year to the debt.

Gun ownership is my right  by Jason Burleigh, Bend  (December 28, 2012)
... When someone has the intent to kill and the lack of sanity, oftentimes they will not be stopped. ... One way they could be stopped, or the damage minimized, is by a law-abiding citizen who is lawfully carrying a weapon. She states that our right to bear arms is �so-called" and the consequences of that �so-called" right are dead children and educators. This argument is false, inane and ridiculous. Last time I checked, the right to bear arms is still in the Second Amendment of our Constitution. The terrible shooting in Connecticut was the consequence of a sick lunatic going on a rampage. Unfortunately, there is no way to totally put a stop to these awful incidents, but we can protect ourselves and our children by being aware and realistic.
Conscience and sanity cannot be legislated through more gun control. Criminals and/or crazy people don�t follow the existing laws and never will. Guns are out there and always will be. I choose to own them lawfully; it is my right. If you choose not to, so be it. Just don�t tell me that I shouldn�t own them because a deranged killer picked one up. If anything, it solidifies our need and right to bear arms even more than before.

Gun control not the answer  by James Strelchun, Bend  (December 30. 2012)
The solution to the tragedy in Newtown is not more gun control laws, which many anti-gun zealots advocate. ... No existing or new laws could have prevented this crime from occurring. Currently, anyone intent on inflicting harm in a school knows that they will not encounter any armed opposition, since all schools are considered �gun-free" venues. Further, any facility that posts a �gun-free" sign is simultaneously posting an invitation to all criminals to commit their crime on those premises without any fear of armed opposition.  What could have prevented the Newtown carnage would have been an armed teacher, aide or principal, who could have acted immediately to stop the killer, well before any outside responders would have arrived. ...

God is the issue  by M. Frank Cook, Redmond  (January 1. 2013)
The issue is not about banning guns. The issue is about America attempting to ban God � and we do that at our own peril.

Protection need in first five minutes  by Melissa Hassell. Bend  (January 1. 2013)
... If the police chief is not comfortable with teachers being trained and armed, how then do we protect our children for the first five minutes until �trained" police arrive? I think a teacher trained in firearms is better than what we currently have: nothing.  Children and teachers will continue to be slaughtered in the first five minutes until police arrive. Lockdowns are important but passive. The good guys are not allowed to protect themselves and the children are completely unprotected for the first five minutes. ...

Editorial: Don't Jump to Conclusions or Legislation after Shooting

The Editors  /  The Bulletin / December 18. 2012
The impulse to rush into action in the wake of a tragedy like the one in Newtown, Conn., last week is understandable. The idea that someone can walk into a school or a theater or shopping mall and simply begin shooting is appalling.
There have been plenty of suggestions to introduce legislation in the last few days.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has said she will introduce legislation next month to reinstate the national ban on assault weapons, which lapsed in 2004. A similar measure will be introduced in the House of Representatives. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, meanwhile, believes gun control should be the president's top priority in the months ahead.
The proposals don't stop at the federal level, either, and they're not all aimed at limiting access to certain types of guns or ammunition.
Here in Oregon, state Rep. Dennis Richardson, R-Central Point, told three school superintendents in southern Oregon that bans on weapons at schools must be lifted. He believes, he said, that every school should have at least three people on campus trained to use firearms and armed in case they need to do so.
That proposal, by the way, did not sit well with the Medford chief of police. "Teachers don't go into teaching to be police officers," he said. Expecting them to use a gun effectively in moments of crisis is not rational unless they train "constantly" for that sort of situation, he added.
What we knew Friday morning about the Sandy Hook School shooting is not what we knew Monday, and what we knew Monday is not likely to be what we're certain of by Thursday.
Friday, for example, we "knew" that shooter Adam Lanza's mother had been a teacher at the Sandy Hook Elementary School; by Monday we knew that wasn't true. We also knew by Monday that Lanza's brother was not involved in the shooting.
Until authorities and the public have a much more clear understanding of what actually occurred during Friday's tragedy, changes to the law may miss the mark. We shouldn't forget how these recent shootings made us feel. But we should give the victims a response marked by thoughtfulness, not just speed.