AP Photo/Yakima Herald-Republic, TJ Mullinax, File
Oregon is a blue state all the way. There’s no doubt about that in anyone’s mind, especially most who live there. While it’s like most states where the Democrats are centralized in the cities and rural communities trend Republican, those Democrats still outnumber their GOP opponents by a significant margin.
As a result, Republicans make up a tiny minority in the state legislature. It doesn’t mean they can’t still defeat gun control bills, though.
Democratic leaders in the Oregon Senate have agreed to give up high-profile bills on gun control and vaccines in exchange for the end of a Republican walkout.
Multiple sources in the state Senate say Democrats have agreed to kill the two bills this session as part of a deal with Republicans. The agreement was first reported by Willamette Week and is aimed at bringing Republican Senators back to the Capitol after they staged a four-day boycott last week.
Though Republicans are in the minority this session, their walkout denied Democrats the quorum needed for a vote on the $1-billion-a-year business tax package pushed by legislative leaders and Gov. Kate Brown. Senators approved the tax plan to raise money for Oregon’s public schools by a 18-11 vote just hours after the GOP deal became public.
The gun bill sacrificed was a bill that implemented a “safe storage” bill and also raised the age to purchase any firearm to 21. The bill would have also banned 3D-printed firearms.
House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson backed the gun control bill. She commented, “It is disappointing that the Senate Republicans walked off the job, went into hiding and held ransom legislation addressing public safety and public health.”
In other words, she’s not a fan of the agreement.
Meanwhile, I’m sitting here thinking about how many times we’re told we need to compromise on guns. Wasn’t this, ultimately, what transpired? No, Oregon Democrats didn’t benefit from this compromise. That doesn’t change the fact that if we’re going to be told to compromise, Democrats need to be willing to do the same.
Williamson’s gripe has more to do with the fact that Republicans in Oregon used the only tool at their disposal to combat legislation they felt was wrong. Frankly, if the state weren’t so one-sided, such an effort wouldn’t have been needed. Instead, people like Williamson want to run roughshod over the opposition and get pissed when they fight back.
After all, Oregon Republicans aren’t the first to walk out and hold up legislation. Democrats did the same thing in 2011. Where was Williamson’s condemnation then?
Or does her indignation only extend to the point where she’ll criticize her opposition, but not her party?
I’m not a fan of walking out to avoid legislation. Not in general. However, when it comes to the rights of ordinary Americans, rights that would have been infringed if Democrats got their way, I find it very hard to fault Oregon Republicans for doing what they did.
I’m quite sure the gun owners of Oregon find it even harder to fault them for it.