My Original Email: Dear Senator Hayward, I am writing you to urge to you to oppose SB700, SB347, and SB699. SB700 call for "Universal Background Checks" and makes a criminal background check required for private, Non-FFL Dealer firearms transactions. This law places an unnecessary burden on average, law abiding citizens exercising their 2nd Amendment rights. If you support this law, you are assuming all people who are either buying or selling a gun are criminals, and that they have a burden to prove to the government they are not. This "guilty until proven innocent" thinking is highly un-American and wrong. Criminals do not purchase guns legally, nor do they purchase guns in large numbers in face-to-face transactions. That is what makes them criminals. This also is huge invasion of privacy by government, as well as places an additional economic burden on law abiding citizens making them pay to have have a background check run. While I am confident this law will be overturned and declared unconstitutional in court at a future date if passed, it will do certainly do more harm to law abiding citizens and not keep criminals from getting weapons if they want them while it is in effect. If this law is passed, more people than is expected will become very engaged and active in opposing any politician who supports this bill. SB347 allows school districts to prohibit CHL holders from carrying on school grounds. This is sheer lunacy. By codifying "gun free zones," you are serving our children up on a platter to a bad guy with a gun. Poor school security at our local elementary school is one of the main reasons we are homeschooling our kids. A CHL holder is a good guy with a gun. He or she has been trained, background checked, and approved by law enforcement for carrying a personal firearm. Why would anyone would want to exclude good people who can help avert tragedies and help protect our kids is truly reprehensible. SB699 Prohibits open carry in the Capitol and other public buildings. This bill is simply about uneducated fear. This bill assumes anyone openly carrying a firearm is somehow a threat. This bill, like SB700, assumes that people are guilty until proven innocent. As a state, we should want more good guys with guns out there than bad guys with guns. Firearms are used everyday in this country to prevent crimes. Far more crimes are prevented with firearms, than are perpetrated with firearms. It saddens me that this bill is even under consideration. People cause crimes, not tools. If you don't fear someone with a hammer on their belt in the capital, why would you fear someone with a sidearm? Both tools can wreak catastrophic damage. However, should you support these bills, and should they pass, many of us will become far more engaged in actively opposing you in the next election, as well as any Senators and Representatives who support these bills. Law abiding citizens with firearms are the good guys. Time to overcome irrational fears, and do what you can to support the good guys. Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. Her Response: Thank you for your email about gun rights. As a family physician, I have seen the consequences of gun violence first hand. I also understand that the problem is multifaceted. First and foremost, we need to address the gaping holes in our mental health system. Currently, a bi-partisan group of Oregon Senators is developing a plan for reforming our mental health system. I fully support their efforts. I also believe, however, that some common sense gun control measures are both necessary and compatible with our Second Amendment guarantees. This session, I will be supporting two gun bills that I consider to be substantial changes to Oregon law. Senate Bill 347 would allow local school districts to adopt policies that prohibits all firearms from school grounds, even if carried by a person with a Concealed Handgun License (CHL). The bill does not force any school district to adopt such a policy. Furthermore, the policy cannot apply to a parent enters school grounds to pick up their student but does not enter a school building. I am supporting this bill because I believe that local school districts should be able to craft policies that are appropriate for the communities they serve. Senate Bill 700 would require criminal background checks for all gun purchases. Transfers between family members, however, will be exempted under most conditions. Background checks are incredibly important because they help prevent felons, fugitives, those adjudicated mentally ill, and those convicted of domestic violence from obtaining firearms. In addition, background checks are quick and easy to complete. The bill would allow individual firearm sellers to conduct a background check of a potential purchaser either through the Oregon State Police or through an authorized gun dealer. The bill allows gun dealers to charge a small fee for this service. Once again, thank you for your email. Though we may disagree on this issue, I hope that we can continue to have an open and honest conversation about gun violence. Please do not hesitate to contact me again with your ideas or concerns. My best, Elizabeth My last response: Dear Senator Hayward, Thank you for your response. As a veteran of the U.S. Army, I too have seen first hand the damage caused by people using firearms. I feel the need to remind you that the firearms do not cause damage on their own, they need a human to tell it what to do. While instances of human violence where a firearm is misused are very tragic indeed, they are dwarfed by the number of incidents where law-abiding citizens used firearms to thwart crimes and violence. Unfortunately, gun control supporters never seem "to be familiar" with those statistics. I also should remind you that according to the CDC, deaths resulting from the misuse of firearms do not even make it onto the top ten causes of death in the United States. I honestly do not understand why you seem to think that the mere presence of a firearm causes increased danger or even makes it easier for someone to commit a crime. I have owned guns for over 40 years, and none of my firearms have ever been used inappropriately or criminally, nor has anyone ever gotten hurt by them. However, you are electing to place an extra burden and cost on me to legally sell a firearm to another citizen. We will never agree on the need for the state or any government to bless a private firearms transaction. Why can't you just leave us the heck alone? I want to remind you that our freedoms as citizens are not granted by you or the government. The Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution limits what the government can do, not what individuals can do. You are for limiting personal freedoms by helping to enact unnecessary laws and restrictions, and I believe a representative republic needs more freedom, not less. I look forward to actively supporting your opponent in the next election. Again, thank you for taking the time to respond to my email.