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Bend lawmakers vow to fight gun-control moves

Say issue should be safety, help for mentally ill

Knopp, Conger vow to fight gun-control moves

BEND, Ore. - Two Central Oregon lawmakers told a shooting-sports group Thursday night they will do all they can to oppose any efforts by colleagues to impose what they feel would be ineffective and unfair laws to restrict the gun rights of law-abiding citizens.

Every state in the nation is talking about gun control issues in the wake of the recent mass shooting at Newton, Conn.

And now that the Oregon Legislature is getting ready to convene, many lawmakers believe it's the first issue that will be brought up.

It also was the key topic of discussion at Thursday night's regular monthly meeting of the Central Oregon Shooting Sports Association at the Bend VFW hall.

"Gun control has the opposite effect of what, I think, people who vote for it think it's going to do," said state Sen.-elect Tim Knopp, who returns to Salem this month after an absence of several years to raise his family. He knocked off incumbent fellow Republican Chris Telfer in a hard-fought primary last spring.

Knopp and returning state Rep. Jason Conger told the group they will fight to uphold the tenets of the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, and will fight efforts to use a tragedy to take away the rights of gun owners, the vast majority of whom have done nothing wrong.

They said they plan to try to make other lawmakers realize that to stop such tragic acts from happening, it's not a matter of limiting guns or ammunition, but rather of better  gun knowledge and safety, and more help for the mentally ill.

Conger told the audience, "There is no evidence, whatsoever, that gun control -- beyond a certain point, a certain, very common-sense point, like we have here in Oregon -- does anything to stop violent crime, or gun-related violent crimes."

Knopp said, "I think you should expect to see numerous bills, most of them coming from Portland-area legislators, that want to ban assault weapons, magazines over a certain size. You may even see a tax on bullets. You may see them presenting legislation to make it harder to get a concealed weapons permit."

Knopp said he believes Gov. John Kitzhaber has been consistent in his position that he would be comfortable banning certain types of guns in Oregon, if it came down to that.

The Legislature hears Kitzhaber's State of the State speech next Monday and begins some organizational work, then returns Feb. 4 to start official business.

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