The 2nd Amendment is one of the most important rights granted to us as Americans. The right to protect ourselves from both internal and external threats is fundamental to our rights to liberty and life. Although we have seen pushes for things like assault weapons bans, waiting periods, and magazine capacity limits, research has shown repeatedly that these methods of control have virtually no impact on firearms deaths and homicide. Further attempts to restrict the right to keep and bear arms must be resisted at every turn. There are a multitude of methods that can be used to help curb gun violence that do not restrict the right to keep and bear arms. Recently safe storage laws were passed in Oregon. Though controversial, data has shown that this helps to lower rates of firearms deaths and negligent homicide. I support safe storage laws. As a gun owner, I feel that this is a responsible method of ensuring firearms do not end up in the wrong hands. Increasing the availability of firearms safety training, allowing greater use of public lands for safe recreational shooting and training, and expanding the availability of hunter safety programs in the state should be utilized to help encourage safe and responsible gun ownership. Legislation should be passed that helps to fund public programs that support safe and responsible gun ownership.
Oregon is a “shall issue” state in regard to concealed handgun licenses. As a concealed handgun license instructor there is one aspect of our concealed handgun laws that concern me. Oregon has no mandatory minimum curriculum for instruction, and no set of standards to ensure instruction meets the requirements for an individual to competently carry a concealed handgun. Currently one of the most requested out of state licenses for many CHL holders is the Utah license. Utah has a mandatory minimum curriculum that must be taught in every single course. I agree with this approach. This does not restrict the individual right to keep and bear arms, but it does ensure that those who are instructing CHL courses possess the background experience and education necessary for effective instruction. It is possible in the State of Oregon for someone to go from having never touched a firearm in their life, to legally teaching concealed carry classes in a 48-hour period by simply taking an NRA course. More robust requirements for teaching and standardization of training should take place to ensure CHL holders are safe, competent, and understand the applicable laws. Legislation should be explored that creates a mandatory minimum curriculum and that raises the standard of what qualifies someone to be a concealed handgun license instructor in Oregon.