Gun rally draws crowd
Senior Staff Writer
State Sen. Dallas Heard thinks it’s unlikely that two gun control initiatives will make the November ballot, but he said it’s important to get out the vote anyway.
Heard addressed about 200 people at the Second Amendment Support Rally on the Douglas County Courthouse lawn Tuesday. Attendees braved 93-degree heat to hear local politicians speak about the importance of gun rights and voting.
Heard, R-Winston, started off with a prayer for Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson, who is fighting brain cancer.
Heard then spoke about Initiative Petitions 43 and 44, both measures being put forward by gun control advocates. He said IP 44 petitioners recently received the go ahead to begin collecting signatures, but only while IP 43 is still being challenged.
“The good news is it’s very unlikely that those two initiatives are going to make it to our ballots this November,” he said. But he urged listeners not to become apathetic, and to get out the vote in November. He said the big cities continue to make assaults on freedoms and liberties.
He called Gov. Kate Brown “one of the single worst governors in the entire country” and urged voters to choose Republican Knute Buehler, who grew up in Roseburg, even though he may not be as conservative as many southern Oregonians.
He also struck a moderate note, saying Democrats and Republicans shouldn’t hate each other, and that a love for liberty creates a bridge between people from different parties.
Ian Quimby, a Southern Oregon University student who works for the Douglas Forest Protective Association, said it’s important to educate youth about gun rights and firearms safety. He said young people need to become comfortable around guns.
“A gun is a tool. It’s just a tool. That’s all it is. I work for DFPA. I use a shovel. My shovel at DFPA is no different than my AR at home. It is a tool and it should be used properly,” he said.
He lamented the lack of youth in the audience, and indirectly addressed the youth gun control movement that has swelled since the school shooting in Parkland, Florida in February.
“I’ve never seen a generation, and this is my generation, fight so hard to have their rights taken away from them, and we need to change that,” he said.
Kendra Maddox, a Douglas High School student, said gun rights are women’s rights. Referencing statistics that one in five college women will be a victim of sexual assault, she recommended women be free to carry around guns instead of making campuses gun-free zones.
“Why don’t we try to lower that number by allowing campus carry, so women don’t have to be the victim?” she said.
Republican congressional candidate Art Robinson said America isn’t a democracy, it’s a constitutional republic, and that means a majority can’t vote to take away an individual’s rights to life, liberty and property. The Second Amendment right to own guns is the right to defend life, he said.
Those are God-given rights, he said, and that’s why the Founding Fathers included them in the Constitution.
“No force on Earth has any right to deprive us of those rights,” he said.
State Rep. Gary Leif, R-Roseburg, followed up with a rousing speech in favor of the Douglas County Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance that will likely appear on the November ballot.
“It’s a great day to be an American. We’re privileged to live in a country that continues to shine as a beacon of freedom for individuals, one in which we each have the right to form our own opinion, express that opinion and hold our government accountable to the will of you the people,” he said.
He said our foundational rights are free speech, freedom to bear arms and protection from unlawful search and seizure.
“Today I stand both amazed and distressed, watching as our governor and other liberal politicians are attempting to reduce or eliminate our Second Amendment rights,” he said. “I understand. People are truly afraid. They believe that if we get rid of all of the guns, that all of our senseless killings will go away. But the simple fact of the matter is criminals don’t obey the law. I believe it’s our right to protect ourselves and keep our families safe, away from evil.”
He said Americans have been asleep and it’s time to wake up to threats like IP 43 and IP 44. He urged listeners to support the Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance, to become politically active and vote to ensure the future remains as bright as the past.
Before the speeches began, Clark Elliott of Sutherlin said he attended the rally because he wanted to stand up for gun rights. He’s a veteran who served as a military policeman in Germany and also a former Douglas County sheriff’s deputy. He said he doesn’t want to see any more gun control laws take effect.
“We have enough laws on the books now,” he said.
If current laws were enforced, he said, incidents like the Umpqua Community College shooting wouldn’t have happened.
Tom Smith and his father William Smith, both of Tiller, said they attended the rally because it’s important to ensure gun rights aren’t infringed upon.
The Second Amendment, William Smith said, is the right that protects all the rest of the rights Americans have.
He said he favors the proposed county ordinance because it will remind people that gun rights “aren’t given by government, they’re protected by government.”
“A lot of people think the government gives the right to keep and bear arms. It doesn’t. You have that right without the government,” he said.