by Rachel Lucas
As a sexual assault victim, I would like to express my deep gratitude for the recent signing into law of House Bill 4045, the bill protecting the privacy of concealed handgun license holders in Oregon. Many crime victims cannot come forward to tell why this law is so important, and I’ve made the conscious decision to speak out to help protect others who cannot, just as I did when I agreed to testify, to help convict my perpetrator so he could not harm others as he had me.
I obtained my concealed handgun license (CHL) for my own personal protection, and I trusted the government to protect the very personal information they required of me at the time of my application. For crime victims, having our private information made public actually re-violates us and can put us in danger. This law puts the government back into the role of protecting its citizens.
For victims of crime, with support and counseling, the wounds do heal, but we still bear the scars. In some ways, they never really do go away. No matter how much time passes, you always feel that vulnerability and fear re-victimization in a very primal way. One of the pivotal moments of my healing was my decision to obtain my concealed handgun license. Having my CHL helps empower me to protect myself and my family. It also helps heal the wounds of vulnerability and victimization from the time when I was unable to defend myself from harm.
There is a saying that, when seconds count, police are minutes away. And no one knows this more than victims of violent crime. In a very real way, taking personal responsibility to protect myself and my loved ones rights another wrong. I left to others the responsibility to protect me, and because of that, I almost lost the life that God had given me. I see now that this responsibility cannot be abdicated, nor should it be.
I now see that, along with law enforcement and our judicial system, I have a role in the protection of myself and my family. Sir Robert Peel, founder of our modern day police system, (and source of the nickname, bobbies) said that police are merely “members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen.” In his words, “the duties of protection and self defense are incumbent upon each of us.”
Now, thanks to the passage of this law that solidifies the protection of our personal information, crime victims and other law abiding citizens can safely exercise this responsibility.
Rachel Lucas is a third-generation Oregonian, a former preschool music teacher, and current chair of the Washington County Republican Party who lives in Beaverton.