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Review's editorial on gun ownership misses the mark

Your editorial on gun ownership (“Debate over gun ownership should focus on making communities safer,” July 3) misses the target.

There is no “debate” over gun ownership in Oregon. The Oregon Constitution specifically provides for the possession of firearms for self-defense, and the state Legislature is reluctant to attempt to restrict that right.

I suspect that the folks who crafted the Multnomah County gun-control regulations you mention were actually aiming to curtail gang gun violence by attempting to prevent juvenile gang members, and school shooters, from gaining access to firearms. The inclusion of a curfew section in that ordinance is a giveaway of that intention. Unfortunately, the ordinance was worded so broadly that it is confusing, even for law enforcement, and the county has had to publish a clarification paper regarding who is specifically not affected by it. 

I believe that the Multnomah County ordinance is bad law.  It will probably not stand up upon appeal if an adult is convicted for not having properly secured a firearm that a juvenile stole from the home and used in a crime.

Another suspicion: Both the City of Portland and Multnomah County, as well as state Sen.Ginny Burdick, have all been in contact with the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence or a similar anti-gun lobbying organization. These folks have been very active in attempting to lock up firearms in the home by getting legislation passed locally, and at the state level, that would deny children access to firearms by making the adults in the home liable for criminal/administrative penalties for not reporting a firearm theft or not properly securing firearms and ammunition.

As usual with Liberals, the gun is the villain, not the criminal user.  The same sort of thinking doesn’t apply to baseball bats, golf clubs, steak knives or kitchen knives, hammers, box cutters or any similar household utensil which could be used as a deadly weapon and is commonly found in a home.

Senator Burdick is anti-gun, by history. Anything she can do to deny the possession and use of firearms, even to law-abiding citizens, is her political agenda. If Senator Burdick had her way, firearms would be first subject to mandatory registration, and then confiscated as too dangerous to possess. But to attempt to shift responsibility for criminal behavior to a parent or guardian is not the way to go with this. If all firearms are locked up in gun safes, unloaded, the owner is effectively denied access to them (and separately stored ammunition) in a self-defense emergency, not just minor children in the home. Her legislative proposals are going nowhere.

In the editorial, you quote statistics published by the American Academy of Pediatrics that “7,500 children are admitted to hospitals each year due to a gunshot wound, with more than 500 children dying from those injuries.” This is a misleading reference. The quoted injuries are not all from children playing with a weapon they found in their home. If you researched the numbers, you’d determine that the vast majority of those shootings and deaths were the result of intentional criminal activities on the part of under-18 drug gang members who gunned down rivals in “drive-by” shooting events.

The anti-gun lobby, such as the Brady Campaign and the Children’s Defense Fund, purposefully separate unintentional from intentional firearms deaths, especially regarding children. The number of accidental shooting deaths has been in decline for some time, but the intentional gang shootings have escalated. To say otherwise is pure propaganda by folks with a political agenda. 

There is a far better reference as to the reality of gun violence in America, and I urge you to go to usconservatives/about.com/od/capitalpunishment/a/Putting-Gun-Death-Statistics-In-Perspective.htm

Alan L. Baker is a resident of Lake Oswego.



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