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Oregon’s leading anti-gun lawmaker moves to exploit Troutdale

Students and parents held a candlelight vigil after the shooting at Reynolds High School in Troutdale, an incident now being exploited by gun control proponents.
Students and parents held a candlelight vigil after the shooting at Reynolds High School in Troutdale, an incident now being exploited by gun control proponents.
Photo by Natalie Behring/Getty Images

Oregon State Sen. Ginny Burdick, described yesterday by the Portland Oregonian as “the Legislature's most vocal advocate for stricter gun laws,” said the parents of the Reynolds High School shooter “should be held criminally responsible for the death of Emilio Hoffman.”

Hoffman was the 14-year-old student killed at the Troutdale high school on Tuesday. The shooter, Jared Michael Padgett, reportedly brought the two guns he carried, an AR-15 rifle and a handgun, after removing it from what was described as “secure storage” at home.

Burdick yesterday insisted, “Those guns weren’t secured.” She called the firearms “weapons of war.”

The liberal Portland Democrat is not the only Beaver State politician to jump on the gun control bandwagon in the wake of the Reynolds shooting. The newspaper’s on-line edition published a Twitter message from Congressman Earl Blumenauer, another Portland Democrat representing the state’s Third District, that stated, “Another shooting. I always hope tragedy will inspire action. Simple common sense steps make difference. Start w/universal background checks.”

That brought a swift reaction from a man named Jeffery Reynolds – ironically the same name as the high school – who told Blumenauer, “You disgust me. You have no facts and you jump in to take advantage of a tragedy for cheap political points.”

Yesterday, Burdick was quoted predicting that Tuesday’s tragedy will likely revive a push for background checks on “nearly all private gun sales” when the Legislature convenes in Salem. But gun rights activists once again wonder how Burdick and Blumenauer think there is even a remote link between background checks and the high school attack.

Padgett took the guns from where they were stored in the home. There was no background check involved in that, and even if so-called “universal background checks” was the law in Oregon, that would not include an immediate family member taking a gun from a locked safe or cabinet.

Washington’s Initiative 594, the 18-page gun control measure heading for the November ballot as a mandate for “universal background checks,” has a specific exemption for immediate family members. If that measure were current law in Oregon, it would not have prevented Tuesday’s crime. Yet gun prohibitionists will push the issue because it advances their political agenda.

Even a safe storage law probably would not have prevented this crime because the authorities have publicly stated that the gun was removed from “secure storage.” So now Burdick wants the gunman’s parents to be prosecuted.

Would Burdick have advocated the same persecution for the mother of Sandy Hook gunman Adam Lanza? She is beyond charges, having been Lanza’s first victim. He stole her guns to use in the attack.

How about the parents of Thurston High School gunman Kip Kinkel in Springfield, just outside of Eugene? Kinkel’s educator father bought guns in an attempt to connect with the troubled teen. But William and Faith Kinkel are also beyond the grasp of Burdick’s ire, as they were both killed the night before Kinkel went to the high school and opened fire.

Reynolds High’s senior class graduated last night and in the process did not attempt to exploit the tragedy that happened in their school two days before. Instead, they shared a moment of silence for their slain schoolmate, a freshman who will never see his own graduation. Moments of silence are golden. There are times when silence makes a louder noise than a politician.