State Representative Jason Conger of Bend says he's ready for a comprehensive debate on gun control in this upcoming session in Salem.
While he's open to discussion and new ideas, he says so far the numbers that he's studied does not seem to show that strict gun control laws work. He compared states with many gun restrictions and those with little or now gun control laws. He says the murder rate in states with more gun control is not lower. In California, for example, the most restrictive state for gun owners, the murder rate is considerably higher than states like Oregon, that have a relatively low murder rate.
"in california the murder rate has been 4.8 per 100,000- oregon is on the lower end - oregon does background checks- less than half of california's (rate). so i looked for other correlations- (but didn't find them)
By contrast, in Utah where there is almost no gun control laws, Conger says the murder rate is very low, less than half of California's.
Conger describes himself as mostly "agnostic" when it comes to guns and is open to hearing new ideas next session to better protect people from gun violence. He is a relatively new gun owner and says he didn't have guns in the home when his kids were younger.
He also feels strongly that the conversation over new gun control laws on a national and state level seemed too early when it started just hours after the shooting in Connecticut.
"i felt like maybe a few days going by - so families of victims could grieve before this gets trotting out in the polical sphere- and batted around - you know i feel that when people jump on an event like that - AND BRING IT INTO THE ARENA SO QUICKLY- IT STRIKES ME AS EXPLOITATION - JUST SEEMS "INAPPROPRIATE."
Conger says school safety, violent entertainment and mental health issues also need to be addressed as part of a comprehensive conversation on gun violence.
Conger was a recent guest on 1110 KBND's Your Town. His complete interview is found on this website under the Podcast icon.