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Citizens have the right to bear arms, but if they choose to own guns, they should do so safely, according to a resolution affirming the Second Amendment that the Clackamas County Commission will vote on this Thursday.


County Board Chairman John Ludlow and Commissioner Tootie Smith brought the resolution to the board in a work session last week, saying they have been deluged by emails from gun-rights activists. They were concerned about the spector of legislation forcing law-enforcement officers to knock on the doors of recently bereaved widows to collect their husbands’ guns.

Calling such fear mongering about bothering widows ridiculous, Commissioner Jim Bernard was among the elected county officials who support some gun-safety proposals being considered by the Oregon Legislature, which aims to prevent another Clackamas Town Center shooting and slow the increasing frequency of school shootings.

“I don’t think you should be able to bring your gun into Justice Court,” Bernard said.

In a lengthy impassioned speech, Commission Martha Schrader argued for the historical importance of the American Revolution and the increasing availability of guns in the 21st century. Schrader said her passion for the issue came from losing her 12-year-old nephew, who shot himself in the head.

“It destroyed my sister’s life, it destroyed her husband’s life,” she said. “That gun should have been locked up.”

In addition to affirming the Second Amendment, Schrader said the resolution should include a list of gun-owner responsibilities to keep themselves and others safe.

Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts said in a statement to the commission that he supports the Second Amendment, but the sheriff’s office emphasizes responsible gun ownership.

Commissioner Paul Savas agreed, pointing to the sheriff’s office’s Public Safety Training Center, where the public can go to target practice and learn about responsible gun ownership.

“We do promote safety, and that ought to be added (to the resolution),” Savas said.

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