The meeting, described as “standing room only,” drew gun rights activists opposing the ordinance and anti-gunners determined to convince the city to enact new restrictions.
The irony of the whole issue is that Ashland has never been a place where open carry was either common or a problem of any kind. The people behind the proposed new abuses of civil rights were not responding to crime, threats or even real events. They simply saw Ashland as fertile ground for new attacks on liberty.
It’s this reality that may become the great vindication of the open carry movement. There are many (even gun owners) who have complained that open carry is an unnecessary provocation that will bring on unwanted attention and new regulations. However, open carry has never been an issue in Ashland and the rights of gun owners are still under attack. One has to wonder what the benefit of avoiding “provocation” is, if places like Ashland will bow to the pressure of a few malcontents to create pointless and unneeded new restrictions.
In fact, as several city council members correctly pointed out, the successful passage of an ordinance of this kind, in a place where even the police concede it serves no purpose, could well make Ashland a magnet for those who chose to send a message by openly carrying legal firearms.
Remember, those with concealed handgun licenses will still be able to open carry virtually anywhere. Those without licenses may still carry as long as the firearm is not loaded. If the mere sight of an openly carried gun is giving some Ashland residents the chills, enacting this ordinance will accomplish nothing except encouraging open carry by protestors. The local police will then be in the very unenviable position of having to figure out what their “reasonable suspicion” will be every time they want to stop someone with a firearm. It’s hard to imagine that the police will consider this a good use of their time.
OPB reported the crowd was “mostly respectful” without giving any examples of any incidents, but gun owners who were present told us that one council member, Carol Vosin (the main proponent of the ordinance) received an escort to her car after the meeting, by men openly carrying firearms. (The local police of course.)
It was this same hypocrite who testified in the past that stopping gun owners would be no different than drunk driving checkpoints before it was pointed out to her that those are not legal in Oregon.
You can see other reports on the meeting here, here and here.
The council has requested another draft of the proposed ordinance, this time with no added restrictions of guns carried in vehicles. So we are making headway, but we still need to do all we can to kill this senseless assault on freedom.
Please consider another message to the Council.
Sample message follows.
To the Ashland City Council,
I find it amazing that you would devote so much time to considering an ordinance banning the loaded carry of firearms in Ashland. No one has been able to demonstrate that this is even an issue in the city and your own police have told you it’s not a problem. But you seem determined to MAKE it a problem. Please keep in mind, if you pass this pointless and unneeded ordinance, license holders may still openly carry firearms and those without licenses may still openly carry firearms that you and your police will have no way of knowing are loaded or not without constant and possibly illegal stops by law enforcement. Those who are offended by, or fearful of, the sight of an openly carried gun will continue to be offended and afraid and you will succeed in making Ashland the perfect gathering place for proponents of open carry. I can assure you most of them will carry openly and spend no money.
Surely your time could be better spent addressing real problems. Open carry is not one of them.
To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.” – Richard Henry Lee