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Letters: NRA fights reason; Metro levy; Youth Council

No organization, its members and supporters has fought harder to prevent the establishment of reasoned gun control laws in the United States than the National Rifle Association.

The standard clip of the Glock pistol, which the mass murderer at Sandy Hook Elementary had, carries 15 rounds. Though he carried many rounds of bullets, each capable of killing, he only had to drop one clip and push in another to kill the 20 children and seven adults he sent to their graves.

Found in his mother’s car was a Kalashnikov AK-47 whose standard clip contains 30 bullets.

Had he carried the AK-47 into the school, he wouldn’t even have needed to drop a clip—one would have sufficed to take the lives of his 27 victims. It should be noted that you can purchase clips, increasing the number of killing units for each of these weapons.

Not only has the National Rifle Association prevented the establishment of reasoned gun-control laws in the United States, it has even managed to quelch a discussion at the level of governance. Case in point, the subject of gun control went unmentioned in the last national general elections.

The National Rifle Association and the leaders Andrew Arulanadam and Wayne LaPierre are culpable—share the blame—for this continuted carnage, and those of us in favor of reasoned gun control should hold them accountable. The obstructionism of the National Rifle Association, its members and supporters has lead to and contributed to the killings at Colunbine, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Town Center and, yes, Sandy Hook.

A reasoned gun-control law must come out of the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate and be signed by the President into law. It’s time for those of us who support a reasoned gun-control law to demand that such a reasoned gun-control law become the law of the land.

D. Kent Lloyd

Gladstone

Blameliberal culture

So...the slaughter of innocent children and adults in the recent shootings around the country? And liberals want to blame guns? Surprise.

The culture of death that is being rammed into kids heads day after day through violent video games, movies and music is an indoctrination that is unparalleled in human history. Are we to believe that this isn’t influencing a generation of kids and cheapening life?

Does the constant defense and promotion of the taking of innocent children’s lives, through abortion, devalue life and make us nothing more than animals? We are a conscience-numbed culture with a god complex, making up our own fatal laws, devoid of the Judeo-Christian principles our country was founded on.

And yet, now we can expect a barrage of news stories and blabber mouths talking again about getting rid of guns. The discussion should focus on what our culture, and in particular what the Godless liberal culture, has done to eliminate the sanctity of life. We will undoubtedly hear nothing about the evil that has been indulged and the expectation, even while they gorge on death—that we can remain untouched by the sickness of our culture and leave our kids completely unaffected.

Marc Trueb

Oregon City

Gun tragedies demand response

The shootings at Clackamas Town Center and in Connecticut are tragic reminders that gun violence can, and does, happen when we least expect it, in happy crowds of Christmas shoppers and in a school filled with innocent young children. I am sure you join me in extending our thoughts and prayers to the victims of these shootings, along with their families and loved ones.

According to news reports, the shooters were able to mow down victims using rapid-fire weapons. These terrifying situations exemplify the danger of large-capacity magazines, an ammunition-feeding device with the ability to accept multiple rounds of ammunition. These weapons dramatically increase death tolls and have no legitimate place in our neighborhoods. Even hunters are restricted from using large capacity magazines: there is a five cartridge limit for large-game hunting, and three for bird hunting. If we limit capacity for hunting animals, shouldn’t we extend this same principle to guns that may harm our neighbors?

That is why I have joined with other legislators to co-sponsor a measure that creates the crime of knowingly selling or transferring a large-capacity magazine, defined as an “ammunition feeding device with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition.”

We need to get these large-capacity magazines OUT of our neighborhoods. These are the weapons that have the power to turn dangerous, unpredictable behavior into acts of horrendous violence that devastate families and communities.

Carolyn Tomei

Milwaukie state representative

Supporting gun safety

As the father of three children under 6, I have tried to imagine the horror of a parent who has sent their child to a school or mall only to never have them return home due to gun violence. As an elected official, I am supposed to have words of comfort in the aftermath of disaster or tragedy, but no words can do justice to a parent’s grief over losses like these.

I have supported important public safety initiatives in the past including closing the Gun Show Loophole, but I have concluded that these steps alone are not enough to protect public safety. I am committed to working for a number of policies that will help prevent these tragedies in the future.

First, my late brother Jeff suffered from a serious mental illness. My family and I were constantly aware of the potential for violence, both against himself and others that his condition presented. As a country it is long past time to prioritize the awareness, diagnosis and treatment of mental health issues. Those with emotional and psychological disorders need our help. It is time to establish, once and for all, a system through which individuals who are found to be a potential threat to themselves or others can receive the treatment that they need. It also means assisting family members, friends, teachers and other observers, including gun sellers and range owners, when they sense something is amiss and that an individual might need professional help.

Second, as the Supreme Court has outlined limits to the First Amendment right of free speech, particularly involving the responsibility of the speaker not to promote panic or incite violence, the Second Amendment includes its own responsibilities for gun owners and gives our legislatures the mandate to promote and protect public safety to stop these tragedies from happening again and again.

Third, policies must be enacted that get military-style assault rifles out of the hands of individuals who would commit these heinous crimes. In addition, Congress should decide whether the most dangerous types of weapons and ammunition should be held to higher ownership, licensing and security standards than other firearms. There must be renewed attention to securing our schools through the COPS School Resource Officers program, and ensure that our rural communities have the resources to protect their children through funding programs like Secure Rural Schools.

Many gun owners already believe that gun rights include responsibilities. I believe there is a responsibility to secure your weapons and prevent the illegal use of your firearms. Gun owners should have the responsibility to demonstrate proficiency with their firearm and familiarity with laws regarding them. In households with unlicensed individuals, gun owners must keep their firearms under lock and key. All owners have the responsibility to ensure that their own sales and transfers are conducted within a system to prevents dangerous individuals from obtaining weapons sales or transfers of dangerous weapons should not be conducted outside a well regulated retail system that checks for detailed criminal and mental health history. The federal background-check database must be made substantially more accurate and comprehensive. This system must also include legal protection for licensed dealers who refuse a questionable sale.

This is not simple problem with a single solution. Each of these steps would balance rights and responsibilities, limit access to the most dangerous weapons, promote responsible gun ownership and address the woeful lack of mental health services across the nation. I intend to do everything possible to move forward on a bipartisan basis before our nation loses more of our children to yet another tragedy.

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden

Oregon

No more funds for Metro

Isn’t it great! Metro dupes the voters into giving them some of our tax money to buy land, conveniently forgetting to tell us they would need more money in the future to maintain the properties.

Now because Metro lacks any foresight, they CAN’T maintain the land we bought them. Enter Mike Houck into the discussion. An instructor at PSU and director of Urban Greenspaces Institute, a nonprofit. His solution is more tax money and more government employees. He is right about one thing—the state needs to get its budget under control, but BEFORE Metro asks for more taxes. Maybe there should be an independent forensic audit of the last two bond measures. Tell us exactly where all the money has been spent. How much property has been taken off the tax rolls, how much lost revenue? How much may have been sent to Houck’s Urban Greenspaces Institute or members of the Coalition for a Livable Future?

It’s typical government thinking. They buy and build expensive projects that are touted as “assets” to the whole community.

The fact is in a few short years they turn out to be liabilities. Why else would they need more money? Maybe the people that use the assets should pay to maintain them. Or maybe they should sell some property to maintain the rest. Most of the bond parcels are not for public use. Metro wants more money to spend on those? Are all of the parks that people actually use in good shape?

Since they can’t take care of their current inventory why not buy more?

Metro and the city of Portland has just recently purchased another 54 acres. Columbia Slough property that will have trails installed. Makes perfect sense if you’re the government using taxpayer money.

All of the area mayors are correct. It’s a bad idea. Say no to any more money for Metro. It’s time Metro gets the kind of genuine scrutiny they have never been subjected to.

Kevin Johnson

Gladstone

Finding our voice

On behalf of the Happy Valley Youth Council, I’d like to invite you to attend one of our Photo Voice presentations at City Hall.

We selected Photo Voice as a project where pictures will serve as a vehicle for us to “speak out and be heard” through photography. Each of us will present images we have captured in Happy Valley. We’ll explain how they portray the positive, and challenging aspects of our community, and how our ideas, concerns and plans can reinforce or change what we see.

Mark your calendar for either Thursday, Jan. 10, at 7 p.m., or Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 7 p.m. and come to the City Hall Council Chamber for the unveiling of our Photo Voice project.

We’re excited to share a new way to look at life in our community with you!

Ashley George

Happy Valley




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