Assault rifle ban proposal sparks C.O. reaction

California senator proposes legislation

Central Oregonians react to assault rifle proposal

BEND, Ore. - California Senator Dianne Fienstein proposed legislation Thursday that would ban assault style rifles, and many Central Oregonians have strong opinions on both sides of the debate.

Since her San Francisco colleagues were shot to death in the late 1970s, Fienstein said her view on guns has taken a turn.

"I was the one that found Supervisor (Harvey) Milk's body, and I was the one that put the finger in the bullet hole trying to get a pulse," Fienstein told reporters Thursday. "Once you have been through one of these episodes, once you see what a crime scene is like, it isn't like the movies. It changes your view of weapons."

Her proposed legislation would prohibit more than 150 assault-style weapons, and ban large-capacity magazines with more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

"It concerns me a lot, that they're trying to water down the Second Amendment," Bend resident Jon Golden said Thursday night. "I believe the balance of power is supposed to be with the people, and they're trying to take that away from us."

Others we spoke to had opposing views.

"In this area, I think there is some room for improvement," Bend resident David Gibson said. "I think we can do something as a society to try and prevent some of these crimes."

At a town hall in Bend, Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., said there needs to be more focus on mental health care, instead of gun control.

"I'm a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, and when some of these bans were in effect in the past, we saw more violence with the weapons than when there wasn't a ban," Walden said.

Some believe restricting certain types of sales is an option.

"This guy that was in Colorado, he bought most of his stuff online," Gibson said. "If we can prevent those types of sales, maybe we can prevent some of these types of crimes."

Fienstein says she's hopeful, but at the same time, she's realistic that there's a slim chance her weapons bill will pass.

To some gun owners, that's a relief.

"To say that the government can be in control of guns, is not different to me than saying that the government can control your vote and what you say," Golden said. "It's one of the keystone pieces to the Constitution."

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