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Hales defends Burdick over gun-related threat

by: COURTESY OREGON LEGISLATURE - State Sen. Ginny Burdick speaksat the Oregon Alliance to Prevent Gun Violence rally in 2013. Also present are Sen. Dingfelder, Rep. Dembrow, Rep. Bailey, Rep. Greenlick, Rep. Keny-Guyer and Rep. Frederick Mayor Charlie Hales is deploring a death threat reportedly made to state Sen. Ginny Burdick because of her comments on the Reynolds High School shooting.

Hales' office received the following statement early Saturday:

“Sen. Burdick stands for a safer Oregon and, as mayor, I stand with the Senator. I share her sorrow over this tragedy, her commitment to see that it doesn’t happen again, and her anger over these unimaginable acts of violence.”

Burdick, a Democrat representing Senate District 18, is the most outspoken gun control advocate in the Oregon Legislature. According to Burdick, a message was left on her telephone recorder that she considered a "veiled threat" in response to comments she made after after Thursday's fatal shooting.

"I think it was in response to what I said about parental responsibility," says Burdick.

Following the shooting, Burdick said the family of the shooter, Jared Padgett, 15, should be criminally prosecuted for not preventing him from obtaining the AR-15 rifle he used to kill fellow student Emilio Hoffman, 14. Padgett also obtained a semiautomatic handgun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition at his home.

Burdick has introduced and supported legislation in the past that would hold parents criminally liable for allowing their children to access their guns without permission. It has never passed. She plans to do so again during the 2015 Oregon Legislation.

"I know Jarett Padgett's parents lost their son, but what were they doing with those kinds of weapons and that much ammunition in the house anyway? They can't be prosecuted now, but I'm going to try to change that again for the future," Burbick asks.

Burdick says the Oregon State Police is investigating the call. Hales also informed the Portland Police Bureau. Portions of Portland are included in Burdick's district.