Protecting the 2nd Amendment and Our People
Bud Pierce is an unwavering supporter of the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment and gun rights under the Oregon Constitution and is equally committed to addressing gun violence in Oregon. That’s not contradiction in terms. That’s just good common sense.
The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution couldn’t be clearer: “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.” Over the last decade, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment applies to the states and federal enclaves and protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. The Oregon Constitution puts it a bit differently, but the point is the same.
We have over 300 major, and countless minor gun laws in America and in Oregon. There is little evidence that the passage of additional legislation will do much to improve gun violence. Bud Pierce opposes violating Oregonians’ clear constitutional rights or signing into law well-intentioned bills that really do nothing to cut down on gun violence. That’s why he opposed the gun control bill that the Democrats passed in the 2015 Legislature passed and Gov. Kate Brown signed into law in the 2015 Legislature. Bud Pierce believed that all this legislation, (expanding background checks to private gun owners) would burden gun enthusiasts while punishing law abiding citizens.
While we must protect ourselves from those who use guns with violent intent, the figures are looking encouraging. Homicide rates have decreased approximately 50% since reaching a peak in 1993. Most gun violence occurs in low-income urban areas and is frequently associated with gang violence. Mass shootings (involving four or more people) account for only a small fraction of gun-related deaths and fell steadily from 1994-2007. Almost two out of three gun deaths are suicides, and up to 90% of people who commit suicide suffer from a diagnosable mental illness. Oregon ranks poorly for its mental health services. In terms of mass shootings, evidence suggests that mass shooters are often mentally ill and socially marginalized.
What, then, is the right answer to reducing gun violence? Here’s Bud Pierce’s plan for Oregon:
- Commit more resources to our state’s failing mental health services to ensure that inpatient and outpatient treatment facilities are adequate and our mentally ill are not warehoused in our prisons or living on our streets.
- Make protection for our schools and students a priority by allowing schools to develop some of their own protection plans at a local level.
- Initiate a robust public service campaign to remind gun owners that with the right of gun ownership comes responsibility – that those who handle weapons must be well-trained and exercise the utmost care and safety procedures that those gun owners with mentally ill or unstable individuals in the home should store weapons in an alternate location.
- Establish a system in which individuals can contact authorities if there is concern that gun violence may occur. Give law enforcement the tools to thoroughly investigate situations brought to their attention.
- Improve public safety in communities with high levels of gang activity.
In this way, Oregon can reduce gun violence without violating our Second Amendment rights and making criminals out of law-abiding citizens.