I have been out of pocket again recently for a variety of reasons (good ones), but upon my return to my second métier in state government (as such, one would be tempted to say 'sinecure', but in my case I actually am involved in the cure of souls) and review of the backlog of e-mails, I discovered an official notice from the Chief Human Resources Office of the Department of Administrative Services for the State of Oregon, under the title of "2nd Amendment Rally Notice". (The rally was held on 8 February, along with a number of other rallies nationwide, so it has been 'overtaken by events', but it piggy-backed onto another rally from 19 January.)
(Dan Sandini, 5440fight)
The news reports wrote of "several hundred" attendees, and one put the number as low as "about 250", but organizers and participants put the number at "over 2000". You can see for yourself and come to your own conclusion:
The keynote speaker was Lars Larson, national radio commentator and Fox News contributor.
Lars Larson at the pro-Second Amendment rally in Salem, Oregon, 19 January 2013
Besides advising of the rally, the DAS notice informs that "participants may choose to openly carry firearms in accordance with federal law, state statute, and local ordinance." While this should fall within the category of warning that participants may choose to drive their personal automobiles, I never cease to be surprised at the faux-insouciant snarkiness of bureaucrats who want to establish a point through the influence of their position.
Yes, Virginia, according to the Constitution it is not only legal but an unalienable right to "keep and bear arms", a right derived from the Declaration of Independence that declares such a right and others are provided not by the government but by the Creator in order to preserve "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness". It should not be surprising that people are exercising that right by not only possessing firearms but also carrying them, which of course is what is meant by "bear".
I am not conversant enough with Adobe to be able to paste a copy of the memo (though I would be glad to forward a copy upon request), but it continues as follows:
Due to recent tragic events in Connecticut, Colorado and at the Clackamas Town Center [near Portland] many of your employees may have a heightened sensitivity to firearms and may be alarmed by the sight of people openly carrying firearms in the Capitol Mall area. We are asking you to alert your staff, especially staff in the Capitol Mall area, about this event and provide the name of a contact person they can talk to if they have any concerns on the day of the event.
While some agencies have policies banning firearms in the workplace it is important to note those policies do not cover members of the public who are carrying firearms in accordance with federal and state law and local ordinances. Please alert your receptionists to this fact and let them know that if a member of the public comes to the building before, during or after the rally carrying a firearm they are not to confront them but they should immediately contact a member of building management.
The memo ends with suggested points of contact. I phoned my own contact in the State Police at the Capitol for a private conversation, and that contact confirmed that, after a meeting on the subject, it was determined that the law allows anyone with a concealed carry permit to enter a 'public building' (other than 'court facility' or 'school property', for which there are exceptions and modifications) with a 'loaded firearm'. The Capitol building and grounds are specifically mentioned within the meaning of the term 'public building'.
(For Oregon residents, allow me to get down in the weeds for a moment in the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS), Chapter 166. The appropriate sections would be ORS 166.291 and 166.292 as they apply to concealed carry permits, and ORS 166.360 through 166.380 for restrictions for carrying firearms. See in particular ORS 166.370(3)(d) for the exception for a "person who is licensed … to carry a concealed handgun". A court facility is addressed under ORS 166.373, and a school property provision is addressed at ORS 166.370(3)(g). Note in particular at ORS 166.380 that a peace officer can inspect a firearm "in or on a public building" to determine if it is loaded. [This does not constitute legal advice; "I am not a lawyer within the meaning of Article 27(b) of the UCMJ."])
Oregon, despite its status as a left-lurching state (at least in the urban areas of Portland down through the Willamette Valley where it counts), has a surprisingly open legal attitude as it regards the carrying of firearms, due in no small part to the fact that the provisions were established in a time of common sense and enjoy Oregon's codified requirement that laws be written in such a way that anyone outside the arcane language of lawyers can understand them (much like Wycliffe's translation of the Bible into the common tongue).
The Left, as you can imagine, has been trying to chip away at these rights, and not the least of the devices they use is derision and ridicule. The photos provided by the MSM for the rally in Salem, as elsewhere, will always show the most outrageous of the attendees in an attempt to characterize the entire population of the movement. I did not attend this rally but I have found myself almost stumbling into a couple of Tea Party rallies in the recent past, and photos afterward focused on a very few clownish members of the open assembly. The well dressed and articulate attendees were doomed to obscurity, and we don't do ourselves any favors by the more colorful participants, however well intentioned, lending themselves to the narrative of the Left, however out of context. Contrast what you see in these reports with what happened in such events as the Occupy mob in recent years (the site is subject to denial-of-service attacks by liberals; "free speech for me but not for thee").
The reports carry on the trend to label the pro-Second Amendment population (it is not really a 'movement'; it has always been there, but is becoming more vocal in its defensive frustration) as a right-wing or Republican creature, or to conflate the Libertarians involved as right-wing. My views are decidedly to the right but I enjoy healthy discussions with those on the left when I venture into the urban enclaves of the Entitled. Several of my liberal acquaintances (including a very left-wing SEIU union organizer) are quite supportive of the Second Amendment and its protection of firearms among the populace, and they maintain an impressive selection of the latest examples.
Yet other liberals hereabout trot out the usual exasperations, and the most common of the moment is "You mean to tell me that you don't trust your own government!?" My reply is "Yes, as a matter of fact, I don't, and neither did the Founding Fathers who lived – and fought – through a perfect example of why such a right must be codified. They were quite aware that the Revolutionary War was begun at the Battles of Lexington and Concord when British troops attempted to disarm the citizens. That is why they made a point of making the right to keep and bear arms such a high priority in the Bill of Rights. If you wish a more recent example, ask any Japanese-American over the age of seventy." It is not that we are preparing for an armed insurrection (God forbid), but that in arming ourselves we will prevent the need for one.
The promulgation of the Oregon DAS alert, for that is what it is despite the title ("alert" is mentioned twice within the body) is indicative of this attitude. It is the same thinking that yields the annual letters from the local high school warning that military recruiters are legally able to speak to students, and solicits parents to sign waivers to bar them from doing so. This reflects the strategy of the MSM who may provide quasi-accurate reporting of news stories, but which slants the coverage by carefully selecting what to print and what to ignore or obscure. A bureaucrat who promulgates only one side of a public issue is equally deceptive.
As for the reference to "Connecticut, Colorado, and the Clackamas Town Center", the one thing that those three areas had in common prior to the tragic events was that all three were publically declared to be "Gun Free Zones", but a more accurate term would be one that we used during the Viet Nam War – "Free Fire Zones". The maniacs who perpetrated their crimes deliberately chose those sites precisely because they knew that a viable response to their carnage was forbidden by law. In the case of the shooting in Aurora, Colorado, that theater was the only one of nine theaters showing the Batman film that the shooter used as his inspiration that advertised that guns were prohibited. In particular, the teachers who sacrificed themselves at Sandy Hook in a useless attempt to stop the attacker were truly heroic, but that does not assuage the tragic fact that their sacrifice was in vain. In all three cases, the carnage was stopped immediately upon the appearance of an armed response from police (after many victims) or a bystander (in the case of Clackamas, with few victims because the bystander reacted far more quickly).
If the idea is a perceived concern for the emotional impact of a controversial subject and the safety of others – and I would submit that the rally was probably the safest place to be in Salem – then I look forward to alerts about a rally that demands continued and expanded federal tax-payer support for the deaths of untold thousands of fully-formed human beings.