PORTLAND, OR -- Former House Speaker Tina Kotek says more can be done to keep what she calls “weapons of war” out of the hands of dangerous people. The Democratic candidate for Governor Tina Kotek took part in a gun violence prevention forum on Wednesday, hosted by the advocacy group Moms Demand Action.
Kotek was specifically asked about the deadly August 28th shooting in a Bend grocery store and how, if elected governor, she would get so-called “weapons of war” out of the hands of civilians, "I think it’s very important that a young person under the age of 21 should not have access to a weapon of war. We make it too easy, and we certainly see the situation, like in Bend, when the shooter had access to a gun that could do a lot of damage."
She told the group, "What we have to start with, is making sure we can raise the age for Oregonians to have access to assault rifles. I also think we have to make sure there are no longer any loopholes in our background check law; that you must have a background check to be able to purchase a gun. Right now, if it takes too long, you can still get one. And that has to change."
Unaffiliated gubernatorial candidate Betsy Johnson held an event with law enforcement last week, saying the state needs to fund more police. KBND News asked Kotek why law enforcement had not been mentioned in her plan to curb gun violence. Kotek responded, there is no “one” approach to community safety, "We must have law enforcement to be able to respond when someone has a gun and we feel unsafe. We currently have staffing issues, not only in Portland, but around the state. What the next Governor can do is make sure that the classes that we hold at the state level, for certification of new officers, that there are more classes, that they run faster, so we can get more people, who want to serve in law enforcement, to get through their training in a much more expedited fashion."
Both Johnson and Republican candidate Christine Drazan have received “A” ratings from the NRA in the past. Forum organizers say neither agreed to take part in Wednesday’s event.