The Central Oregon Shooting Sports Association provided the Gun Owners Caucus of the Democratic Party of Oregon range rental Sunday Sept 28 and provided Range Officers for a very reasonable price. Association President Bill Flocker worked with GOC Vice-chair Chuck Butcher (me) to make this work, and it did and the Assn deserves great credit. This is a fine organization with great facilities, and it appears they may have gained a few members. Sandra Lowry of Deschutes Co Democrats provided invaluable help in coordination.
Before shooting started I conducted one of those basics of any shooting event that might include anyone unfamiliar with firearms, the safety orientation. It never hurts for those with experience to hear it once again. Firearms are potentially dangerous tools and it is entirely too late to try to correct something afterwards. GOC Chair Zak Johnson is to my right in the photo. The bed of the SSR is filled about half way with firearms and ammunition. The object being to provide opportunities for those who don't own firearms and something different for those who do. Zak also brought along extras.
Around 25 shooters from disparate parts of the state attended, Portland and Multnomah County were well represented as was the Bend area, and Baker City. I do not have at hand the names and homes of all attendees, but this was a gathering of urban and rural Democrats with a common interest. Maren Lundgren, a candidate for the State Senate District 2 7, is pictured learning the function of a .45 Colt SAA which is an uncommon handgun requiring special treatment. Other candidates present were:
Judy Stiegler, HD 54 candidate, Conrad Ruel, House District 53 candidate, Noah Lemas - running for Congress, 2nd CD (apparently he antelope hunts close to COSSA), Al Unger. current Mayor of Redmond, running for Deschutes Co. Commissioner.
Pictured is Bill Flocker, Assn Pres and one of the Range Officers giving a helping hand with accuracy. Range Officers provide an invaluable service on a shooting range, monitoring for safe conduct and opening and closing the firing line for target changes. I would like to make clear to those unfamiliar with shooting clubs that you will seldom find anyone more friendly or more helpful than their members. Politics stop at the gates, we flew our Democratic 'flags' but in no way advocated for candidates or issues. Shooting clubs, for obvious reasons, are predominately Republican and the mere presence of so many Democrats being just like them at the range is political capital that is hard to beat.
Here is Wayne Kinney who wears many hats as a Democrat, he is the DPO's DNC Committeeman and general activist as well as Sen Ron Wyden (D-OR)'s eastern Oregon chief liaison. He is shooting a Ruger Vaquero .45 Colt and grouping his shots nicely but hitting low and left of his aim point. Chuck is making the point that with that consistency the fundamentals of firing are good but the sight picture he is using has a consistent fault. I know this is not about the revolver since I can hit a 10 inch circle of metal at 200 yards with it, although with much heavier loads than used on this 7 yard pistol range or by anyone not familiar with very high power rounds - Hotrod Reloads for Vaquero 45 Colt.
Media has paid some attention to these Democratic Party activities, specifically James Sinks of the Bend Bulletin.
SALEM — On any given Sunday in campaign season, you’d expect to find Democrat Judy Stiegler, a candidate for the Oregon House, knocking on doors in Bend, or maybe in a coffee shop, sipping a latte.
What about shooting pistols?
That’s exactly what Stiegler, a Bend attorney, and several other Democratic candidates from Central Oregon did Sunday near Millican, as part of an event staged by the Democratic Gun Caucus.
Now wait just a minute, you might be thinking.
Yes, it’s true.
It’s events like those that Democrats — especially those who are seeking office east of the Cascades, which has been reliably Republican turf for decades — say are helping to illustrate that not every Democrat fits a stereotype that they’re identical to Portland liberals.
James and I disagree about Portland liberals, since Zak Johnson certainly qualifies as a Portland progressive and the largest percentage of GOC membership lives in the Portland urban area. Ah stereotypes.
“That’s the whole idea,” said Conrad Ruel, a La Pine retiree who is seeking an Oregon House seat and who attended the shooting event with his son, who is a member of the National Guard.
“There are a lot of Democrats who have guns and support the Second Amendment,” he said.
State Sen. Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, said it’s good political strategy for Democrats to say they’re just like most folks in rural Oregon.
But he doesn’t think it will sway many voters.
“A great deal of the registration in rural Oregon is Democrat, but they are conservative, gun-owning, God-fearing, red-blooded American citizens, and they vote conservative,” he said.
“They are not going to be fooled, no matter how much rhetoric you pile on.”
Um, Ted, that ain't rhetoric - it's gun powder and lead - and it's concrete not the air you're pushing around. In point of actual fact, his Party's stance on the issue of the 2nd Amendment is inferior in every respect to the DPO's Resolution 08-05. Really Ted, considering your public statement that Democratic voting Democrats are somehow less "God-fearing, red-blooded American citizens" than those who vote for your Party sounds a lot like really stupid really ugly partisanship typical of many in your Party. I don't vote for you or your ilk and I'll match my contributions to this society and my values against yours any day. As far as red-blooded, I've run in a real tough Federal campaign while you hang onto your safe State campaign and most of my pastimes and manner of making a living would put your ass in the dirt.
Chuck Butcher, a former Democratic congressional candidate from Baker City, helped to form the Gun Owners Caucus because he was frustrated at the perception that all Democrats were anti-gun, he said.
“Yes, there are Democrats that want to ban all ammunition, but there are Republicans that want to do that, too, such as (former New York Mayor) Rudy Guiliani.”
But at the same time, plenty of Democrats are hunters and gun owners, he said.
James Sinks is a pretty good reporter, so I'm not going to undercut his livelihood by poaching too much of his article. Buy a copy of the Bend Bulletin, 10/3/08 and help support them. Sure, the paper is more conservatively oriented than I am, but they perform an important function and do it well.
If the DPO/GOC strikes your fancy as an organization you could get behind there are a lot of ways to contact us, DPO Contacts is probably the best or see your County Party. The GOC is not just a propaganda arm of the DPO, though it is certainly one of our functions to educate the voting public, it is also an interest group within Party politics. If you're thinking, "oh sure, like you've got leverage," it pays to know that GOC is one of the two largest caucuses in DPO with one of the very largest geographic representations. Are we visible?
That cap worn in a parade reads:
GUN OWNERS CAUCUS
Democratic Party of Oregon
That parade just happen to be in Lane County, not Eastern Oregon, Sen Ted. We aren't
playing at anything and we're not pretending to be something we're not. This is about "why in the hell are the Republicans getting to run the show in the ditch over this issue?" Cutting firearms crimes is not about guns, it is all about people and exactly one Party has the ideas to address the things that drive crime, how people live.
GOC is tired of stupidity, blaming guns for crimes is just like blaming Chevrolet for drunk driving. People are the issue, drug and alcohol treatment, job creation, equal treatment, sufficient income, some sort of civil and economic fairness and that is not the agenda of the Party that gets the "gun vote." While gun ownership spreads across the economic spectrum it is concentrated amongst those who are most ignored and harmed by the Party they vote for, and vote for as an individual right guaranteed by the Constitution and this divide is stupid. This is the Party of the expansion of civil liberties, not the Republicans - let's help that happen.