Pro-Gun Rights Supporters Gather at Capitols Across the U.S.

Gun rights supporters gathered at state capitols across the U.S. on Saturday to push back against efforts to pass stricter gun-control laws that they fear threaten their constitutional right to bear arms.

From Delaware to Wyoming, hundreds gathered at peaceful protests to listen to speakers who warned that any restrictions on gun ownership or use eventually could lead to a ban on gun ownership, which is guaranteed under the Second Amendment.

“If you have a building and you take a brick out every so often, after a while you’re not going to have a building,” said Westley Williams, who carried an AR-15 rifle as he joined about 100 people braving blustery weather in Cheyenne, Wyoming, for a pro-gun-rights rally in front of the state supreme court building.

Dave Gulya, one of the organizers of a rally in Augusta, Maine, said about 800 people showed up at the statehouse — a gun-free zone — to make the point that “we are law-abiding.”

Saturday’s protests were planned in dozens of state capitols less than three weeks after hundreds of thousands marched in Washington, New York and elsewhere to demand tougher gun laws after the February school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17. Organizers of those protests demanded a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and called for universal background checks on potential gun owners.

In Salem, about 300 people gathered at the World War II Memorial in Willson Park on the west side of the Oregon Capitol on Saturday.

They rallied to support the Second Amendment and oppose a potential state ballot measure, Initiative Petition 43, that would require registration for currently owned semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity magazines and would ban their future sales.

Good Guys With Guns (Oregon) recently founded by Kevin Conzo, organized the Salem event. Conzo said he admires the spirit of the Parkland students who organized the March for Our Lives but disagrees with their solutions to the issue of mass shootings.

“The only ones who obey the laws are the good guys”, said Conzo at the rally. “Creating more laws with law restrictions is hindering our natural rights as human beings. If the sword is gone, I guarantee that the pen is next.”

The Salem version of the national March for Science also was being held Saturday at the Capitol. There was a large police presence but no reported problems, and when the March for Science participants marched past the Second Amendment rally, the speakers stopped their speeches and cheered for the science teachers.

The National Constitutional Coalition of Patriotic Americans coordinated the timing of the nationwide events at all 50 state capitols on Saturday.

Trump Orders Strike on Syria, Oregon Senator Calls for Congressional Authorization

President Donald Trump announced on Friday he ordered strikes on the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons facilities in coordination with France and the United Kingdom in response to a chemical weapons attack last weekend.

Defense Secretary James Mattis said the US specifically targeted the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons program.

“We also selected targets that would minimize the risks to innocent civilians,” Mattis said.

“Right now this is a one-time shot and I believe that it sent a very strong message to dissuade (Assad), to deter him from doing this again,” he added.

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley issued a response on Friday night, saying the president needs to seek congressional authorization for any act of war.

Full Statement from Senator Jeff Merkley on Air Strikes Against Syria:

“Bashar al-Assad has carried out a brutal campaign of attacks on his own people. The use of chemical weapons is unconscionable and he must be held accountable.

“But military action is not the only tool we have. And if President Trump is going to use military force he must seek congressional authorization. The power to make war rests with Congress in Article I of the Constitution.

“We have learned in Afghanistan and Iraq the dangers of launching military actions without clearly articulated objectives and exit strategies. If the President wants to wage war, the American people and Congress need to be part of that decision.”

Sheriff Nelson Speaks Out Against Assault Weapons Ban

Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson spoke out against a proposed gun control measure that could be on the November ballot in Oregon this year.

The organizers behind Initiative Petition 43 met the original deadline of 1,000 signatures by last month, but they will need more than 88,000 valid signatures by July 6th to put the measure on the November ballot.

I.P. 43 is a measure that proposes restrictions on the sale, production and ownership of assault weapons and high capacity magazines. If the measure makes it on the ballot and is passed by voters in November, Oregon residents who currently own an assault weapon would be required to either register the gun with the state, sell it to a registered gun dealer, remove the gun from the state, render the gun inoperable or hand it over to law enforcement.

Under I.P. 43 an assault weapon would be any semi-automatic rifles or pistol with a detachable magazine, semi-automatic shotguns with grip and stock modifications and semi-automatic rifles under 30 inches in length. High capacity magazines are defined as any feeding device that holds more than ten rounds.

The petition was started after the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida and has gained support from local activists and organizers of the ‘March for Our Lives.’

The petition has sparked push back from gun advocates across the state and on Friday, Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson posted this statement to his Facebook page:

“As your Sheriff, I took an oath to support the Constitution of the United States of America and the State of Oregon. In addition to this, I swore to perform the duties of Deschutes County Sheriff to the best of my ability. I support and defend the Second Amendment and oppose IP 43.

I serve the 190,000 citizens of our great county and am charged with public safety. Our office has issued over 14,000 concealed handgun licenses and I firmly believe that every responsible and accountable law abiding citizen who wants to legally own a firearm should do so. Firearms have their lawful place in society and are an important tool in personal protection and ensuring public safety in our county.

I understand the concerns of school violence across the country and the role law enforcement plays. Oregon has a number of laws on the books regarding background checks and age restrictions related to the purchase of a firearm. These laws prohibit the sale of firearms to convicted felons, those convicted of misdemeanor crimes involving violence, those adjudicated as mentally ill, those who have been committed as the result of a Mental Commitment Hearing, those with an active felony warrant, active out of state misdemeanor warrant and those on pretrial release for a felony.

Our office continues to take all threats seriously, and we appropriately vet them in partnership with our DA’s Office, mental health professionals, other law enforcement agencies, our schools, and others in the public safety sector. We immediately respond to, investigate threats of violence or danger, and hold people accountable. We are committed to keeping our children and community safe. Deputies of the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office will always respond to assist and protect the citizens we serve, but you must be prepared to appropriately take care of you and your family until we can get there.”

 

 

Addiction in Central Oregon

Representative Walden Discusses Drug Issues in Central Oregon

Representative Greg Walden was in Madras today to discuss substance abuse and addiction in Jefferson County and found that opioids are not as big a problem as other drugs in that area. 
Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan was there for the roundtable discussion

You can reach out to Representative Walden’s office with any questions or feedback on any of the upcoming anti-opioid proposals before Congress by contacting Nolan Hern at Nolan.hern@gmail.house.gov or at 202-224-6730.

Rep. Walden Talks with Bend Veterans

Representative Greg Walden was at Jake’s Diner in Bend today addressing the local chapter of “Band of Brothers”, and Central Oregon Daily’s Warren Shultz was there covering the story.

Veterans in attendance also had the opportunity for a question and answer period on the current state of VA care and what’s being done to improve it.

Thousands March Against Gun Violence in Bend

Nearly 4,000 community members, led by local high school students, gathered in Drake Park on Saturday to participate in the March for Our Lives – a national movement against gun violence sparked by the school shooting in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 people in February.

Demonstrators began gathering in Drake Park around 11 a.m. on Saturday morning. As the crowd grew local high school students gave speeches asking for politicians to do more to keep them safe in schools. One student sang “Imagine” by John Lennon as Bend Mayor Casey Roats and city council member Nathan Boddie stood on stage behind him.

At noon students, carrying a blue ‘March for Our Lives,’ banner led a march through downtown Bend. The march was so large that the students leading the march came back around to Drake Park before many protestors had even left.

Demonstrators said they were marching specifically for common sense gun control measures including banning bump stocks, semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles; and implementing comprehensive background checks and funding mental health care.

This echoed the messages of the roughly 800 marches that took place across the country on Saturday.

Hundreds of thousands of people marched in Washington D.C., which was led by survivors of the Parkland shooting, but was meant to raise awareness for all victims of gun violence.

The Parkland students shared the stage with other young people from across the country including Edna Chavez from Los Angles who lost her brother to gun violence; 11-year-old Naomi Wadler who spoke to raise awareness about African-American women and girls who were victims of gun violence; and Yolanda King, granddaughter of Martin Luther King Jr.

While millions marched across the U.S., the movement did see plenty of criticism.

The NRA out out a video responding to the march, saying that the students leading the march were part of, and funded by, a “liberal agenda.” The video also said that the answer to school safety would be providing funding for armed guards in schools and arming teachers.

Here in Bend, Central Oregon Daily saw plenty of comments against the march on our Facebook page. Many community members expressed that they felt it was ridiculous for people to march against their Second Amendment Rights. Others said they should march against cars, since annually more young people die in car accidents then due to gun violence, and some echoed the NRA’s message that the march was part of a political agenda.

March for Our Lives

A March for the Survivors

City Officials in Washington D.C are expecting as many as 500,000 visitors in the nations capitol for tomorrow’s March for our Lives, an event that is being organized in part of the survivors of the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan has a preview of the local version of the march, which will start at Drake Park at noon tomorrow.

Trump’s New Plan for Opioid Epidemic

President Donald Trump unveiled his plan for fighting the nation’s opioid epidemic today. Parts of the plan have already received plenty of criticism, specifically a proposal for the death penalty to be applied to drug traffickers.

First Lady Melania Trump introduced the President in New Hampshire, a state then candidate Trump described as a “drug infested den,” but it was here that Trump announced his new plan.

The president’s initiative is getting the most attention for its crackdown on drug traffickers.
“If we don’t get tough on the drug dealers we are wasting our time,” said Trump, “and that toughness includes the death penalty.”

Trump also repeated his demand for a wall on the US/Mexican border, saying it will stop the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S.

The White House is also taking aim at the health care industry and looking to stop the over-prescription of powerful and addictive painkillers. The White House’s goal is to reduce opioid prescriptions by a third within three years.

Trump invited Jim and Jeanne Moser to share the story of their sun, who died after battling an addiction that started with a prescription painkiller.

“He got hooked on it and had to go to the street eventually and found fentanyl,” said Jeanne Moser.
Trump’s plan also called for expanding the access to treatment for those already struggling with addiction.

The latest figured from 2016 show that opioids killed more than 42,000 people in the U.S.

To help counter this Trump is also declaring the need for a nationwide public relations effort to convince Americans, particularly children, to not start using drugs.

The White House announced a new website, crisisnextdoor.gov, that warns of the dangers of opioids, including fentanyl. Trump also called for broadcasting “great commercials” during “the right shows” that demonstrate to children “how bad” drugs are.

Parents Look for Upgrades in School Safety

Since the shootings in Parkland last month, the discussion surrounding school safety has been led by the surviving students and their peers across the country, but it’s not just the students who are joining the conversation.


Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan sat down with a local parent who’s voicing her concerns about the safety of students in Bend, and what she’s hoping Bend-La Pine Schools will do to address them.

Lisa Carton also sits down with Bend-La Pine School District’s Deputy Superintendent Jay Mathisen to see how the district is reacting to these requests from students and parents.

Bend Students Plan to Walkout

Bend Teenagers Organizing a Wednesday Walkout to Pay Tribute to Parkland High School Shooting Victims

Wednesday has been declared “National Walkout Day” by students across the country who want to pay tribute to the 17 victims of the Parkland, Florida High School shootings by walking out of their classrooms for 17 minutes on the one-month anniversary of the tragedy.