It’s been a busy week, apparently, for Oregon’s top elected morons. As they struggle to come up with new ways to enact gun control, Governor Kate Brown, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, and senate majority leader Ginny Burdick have apparently been meeting with anti gun organizations behind closed doors, away from the public eye, with no announcement or invitation for anyone else to participate.
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House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson, D-Portland, wants to revive a measure that would limit default gun sales when background checks take longer than expected, after the bill earned tepid support and died in the Senate last month.
Advisers for Gov. Kate Brown and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum huddled with advocates in separate meetings Thursday to hear about executive actions they might take without legislative approval. Brown, up for election this year, had already vowed to “explore” that possibility last month.
And Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, at a forum hosted by the Oregon Alliance for Gun Safety, reiterated her support Wednesday for enacting gun-violence restraining orders. That idea, already in place in California, would create a court-sanctioned mechanism for removing guns from people believed to be at risk of harming themselves or others.
“People are starting to understand that the loud, screaming voices out there do not represent the public,” Burdick said Wednesday. “The dangerous position on this issue is against reasonable gun safety legislation. Vote against reasonable legislation at your peril.”
Oregon’s gun rights community, which blamed the government for slow background checks and saw Williamson’s bill as overreach, gave themselves credit for helping run out the clock.
“Make no mistake, you made the difference. It was your efforts that killed this dangerous and evil bill. You have much to be proud of,” Kevin Starrett of the Oregon Firearms Federation wrote on the group’s website March 3. “Elections are coming and your participation is critical. You have seen once again that your voice matters. Make sure your vote matters.”
Starrett didn’t return a message seeking comment this week.
In comments at the end of the legislative session, Brown expressed disappointment about HB 4147’s demise. But she left the door open for fresh legislation and executive efforts.
Her public safety advisor, Heidi Moawad, met with the left-leaning Center for American Progress on that subject Thursday. The group also met with Aaron Knott, Rosenblum’s legislative director. The Center for American Progress has worked up a national effort that emphasizes tighter enforcement of current gun laws and better collaboration, on gun tracing and background checks, across state lines.
“We’re in listening mode right now,” said Brown’s spokeswoman, Kristen Grainger. “But there’s more consulting to do.”
“This is not a partisan issue outside the Legislature,” said Burdick, who noted widespread public support for simple gun restrictions.
Jim Moore, a political science professor at Pacific University, said that’s true. It’s just that “it’s not very deep.”
“There is a very vocal, but relatively small, group on either side, screaming to be heard and influencing the legislation,” Moore said. “Generally, if we are closer in time to a massacre, the better chances of gun limitation legislation. The farther away we get, the more the gun rights people win out.”
As for any looming political shifts, he cautioned against hand-wringing, or exuberance: “Not that many people will change their electoral support for candidates over gun issues.”
It’s becoming habitual for the anti 2nd Amendment crowd to do their dirty work in secret, as they most certainly don’t want the public to know what they are plotting. Last month a super secret event featuring Gabby Giffords ejected independent media, with notable anti gun organizers Jake Weigler and Colin Cochran escorting out anyone whom they didn’t want hearing what was going on.
Oregon state rep Jennifer Williamson, who took flack for defending child sex abusers and wanting to let violent criminals out of jail early, accidentally let it slip on KATU’s “Your Voice, Your Vote” program that she had been meeting in secret with the Oregon State Police to plot new control schemes.
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And let’s not forget that just last month Governor Brown said she would explore executive actions on gun control, but turned into a stuttering mess when asked to elaborate.