BEND, Ore. - "Guns in America" was the controversial topic of City Club of Central Oregon's forum Thursday, where several noteworthy speakers made their positions heard.
"Frankly, it's a hot-button issue," said OSU-Cascades political science professor Jim Foster. "It's very, very difficult to rein in one's emotions and one's concerns, and talk about it in a civil way."
The debate over gun violence isn't going away. City Club officials said their goal is to spark discussion. When it comes to guns, it can be an emotional topic.
"Thirty rounds is too much firearm for us to have, but 15 rounds is okay?" Bob Nosler said to the crowd. "It doesn't make sense."
Nosler is the president of an ammunition factory in Bend, and a member of the NRA.
"I don't expect to change anybody's minds today, because it is an emotional issue" Nosler said. "But I do want the facts to come out."
Nosler says he's worried about gun control legislation, because many of the laws would be tough to regulate.
"We need to make sure they are not something that is so difficult to enforce, that it makes good people into criminals," said Nosler. "We want to make sure our Second Amendment rights are upheld."
Foster says there are two forms of the Second Amendment: the written language, and how people interpret it.
"The Constitution doesn't provide answers, it provides a framework for discussion," Foster said. "The irony is, rather than discussing, many people think they own it, and say, 'My Constitution, my view of the Second Amendment is prevalent.' And that's a conversation-stopper."
The audience asked questions, school officials talked about how they keep students safe, and Bend police Lt. Chris Carney said the department does not have an opinion on gun control issues.
Afterward, many said they were intrigued by the discussion.
"The mental illness section brought into it -- it's a huge issue, and it's very, very complicated," said RexAnn Reseter.
"I think we've got to be very careful with what we're doing with the Constitution of the United States," said Don Noldge. "And let's don't give up our personal freedoms."
But one issue everyone in the room seemed to agree upon -- gun violence in the U.S. is a cultural issue that will take a lot of work to change.