by Dan Lucas
You know what I didn’t hear in nearly four hours of testimony on Friday at the Oregon Senate gun bill hearings? Any evidence that there are problems with Oregon’s 170,000 concealed handgun license (CHL) holders. And yet, 3 of the 4 bills discussed are to take away rights from Oregon’s hyper-law-abiding CHL holders.
The question was first asked by Rep. Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer), “What problem are we as legislators seeking to solve? Have there been a rash of incidents involving CHL holders?” Many others asked essentially the same question. No one ever answered the question. No one gave any evidence that we need to be looking at taking away rights from CHL holders.
The only compelling evidence related to CHL holders came from my wife Rachel, the Executive Director for Safer Oregon. Rachel noted that last week a CHL holder in Oregon City was able to stop an assailant who dragged her by her pony tail and began to assault her. The 22-year-old CHL holder stopped the assault by drawing her handgun – at which point the assailant fled. The CHL holder didn’t even have to fire a shot.
There are real safety issues, including safety issues in Oregon schools, that Sen. Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene) and Sen. Ginny Burdick (D-Portland) could be looking at. But they’re not. Real safety issues like 156 sexual assaults and 8,428 physical assaults in Oregon’s K-12 schools, in just one single school year. There were also 515 school bus accidents in the same school year.
Why then are Sen. Prozanski and Sen. Burdick trying to exploit the recent tragedies instead of solving real problems? The monster who murdered Steven Forsyth and Cindy Ann Yuille at the Clackamas Mall wasn’t a CHL holder. The monster who murdered 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut wasn’t a CHL holder. Why go after hyper-law-abiding CHL holders? Why not go after the monsters who are committing these horrific murders?
We do know that the monster in Connecticut and the monster in Aurora, Colorado, along with many others monsters who commit these kinds of mass killings, had severe mental health issues. Several were known to be a violent risk beforehand – including one of the Columbine killers, the Aurora, Colorado theater killer and the Virginia Tech killer. More actual problems that Sen. Prozanski and Sen. Burdick are doing nothing to address.
Note: As of March 2013 there were 170,608 CHL holders in Oregon, according to data from the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association CHL Subgroup.
To read more from Dan, visit www.dan-lucas.com