Central Oregonians weigh in on gun control debate

Biden says executive action can be taken

Gun control talk sparks questions

BEND, Ore. - After the mass school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, gun control talks formally started in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. Many Central Oregonians are getting fired up, with some wanting stricter laws, and others wanting no changes.

A task force has been set up, led by Vice President Joe Biden to help find a way to stop mass shootings. Stricter gun control is just one of the issues being discussed.

"The president is going to act -- there are executive orders, executive action that can be taken," Biden said. "We haven't decided what that is yet."

When Redmond resident Bill Layton hears talk about gun control, he believes his Second Amendment rights will be taken away.

"What I own, I own legally. I purchased legally, I purchased my ammunition legally, and my magazines legally," Layton said. "Now all of a sudden, we're going to say, 'You can't have those.'"

It's still too early to say what any new gun laws would restrict. It's just part of the discussion in Washington, but it has some gun owners nervous.

As a Vietnam veteran who served in the Marines, worked in law enforcement and taught youth safe shooting for years, Layton has a gun to protect his home. And he plans to keep it that way.

"The  Founding Fathers said, based on the fact that the first thing the British tried to do was take the arms, and they said, 'Never again,'" said Layton. "We are going to keep in our Constitution the right to bear arms."

Biden will hear from gun owners and NRA members on Thursday. The vice president says he wants to hear their case as well before any decisions are made.

But when it comes to mass shootings like the one in Connecticut, many people said they believe it shows there needs to be stricter gun control.

"For people's safety, after what happened in Connecticut, they need to control it," said one Redmond resident.

"I think they need to get really strict," said a former teacher. "They should not have guns in schools. They should not have teachers or principals with guns."

But for others, the mass shootings point to a need to improve mental health help, not more gun laws.

"No matter what, they're going to get a gun, so it doesn't matter how they change the laws," said one Redmond resident. "They need to start looking at the human being more than anything."

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