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Guns and sanity in Oregon Senate?

Discussion in 'Legal & Political Archive' started by MikeE, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. MikeE

    MikeE Portland Well-Known Member

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    Here's a little news analysis I did for a grassroots progressive group that I support. I think we gun owners may have been offered a ray of hope in Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney's new proposal on mental health care funding, if we can rise to the occasion:

    Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney proposed a major increase in state funding for mental health programs . "It's game changing time," Courtney told reporters, according to the front page article in the Oregonian Peter Courtney calls for 'game-changing' investment in mental health | OregonLive.com (Feb 7):

    'He said he's tired of all the talk about mental health, especially in the raging debate over gun control, and wants to see some action by state lawmakers.
    "You want to do something? Let's do it," he said , his voice quavering at times...
    He said the massacre of children at Sandy Hook Elementary School and the ensuing polarization over guns and mental health provoked him to stepping up...
    Senate Republicans, who generally oppose more gun control, approached Courtney over the past month, hoping to stoke a conversation about mental health...'

    Courtney is proposing to increase funding for crisis intervention to $285 million overr two years, along with spending $46 million to serve children and young adults. Courtney is calling for a new dedicated revenue source for these programs.

    If this proposal gets traction it could present a third option in the polarized debate about gun control at the legislature. Gun control advocates are proposing a ban on high capacity gun magazines. However, there are already tens of thousands of high capacity magazines circulating in the state, and literally millions nation wide. It is hard to imagine how this proposal would have any concrete effect on gun violence, even under the assumptions of gun control supporters. On the other hand, gun rights advocates have been framing the issue as an attack on the Second Amendment, despite the fact that the great majority of the population view the situation as a crisis in public safety.

    Courtney's proposal offers the chance for a bi-partisan initiative to directly benefit the lives of thousands of Oregonians, while increasing public safety in a very measurable way. It also potentially side-steps the us vs them confrontation over the magazine capacity ban.

    Can Courtney and mental health advocates work a deal with Oregon Republicans to pass full funding for mental health care in exchange for side-lining the high capacity magazine ban? It would require major adjustments to entrenched political positions on all sides, but the beneficiaries would be thousands of people in urgent need to mental health care, their families, and public safety in general.
     
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  2. MikeE

    MikeE Portland Well-Known Member

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    Here is a copy of the letter I just sent to my State Senator:

    Dear Senator Rosenbaum,

    I was very happy to read about Senate President Courtney's proposal to increase funding for mental health care in the state. My son benefitted tremendously from mental health care programs available in Multnomah County. Sadly, many of those programs have been cut as the recession took hold.
    I am also a gun owner, and have seen first hand how the emerging polarized debate over gun control has hardened positions in the least helpful ways. I believe that the conversation we have been having will do little for public safety. On the other hand, Sen. Courtney's proposal could be a real game changer.
    Let me know if there is anything I can do as a citizen to further this approach to public health and safety.

    Regards,


    To find your legislator, look here:
    Oregon State Legislature - Find Your Legislator
     
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  3. drew

    drew OR Well-Known Member

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    I'm very interested to see who sponsors this bill.
     
  4. MikeE

    MikeE Portland Well-Known Member

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    I would be good to know which Republicans Courtney was talking to. Then it would be good to see what gun-friendly Democrats think - Jeff Barker in the House and maybe Betsy Johnson in the senate.

    It will be up to public pressure to make this real, IMO.
     
  5. hermannr

    hermannr Okanogan Highlands Well-Known Member

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    You guys almost had a new funding source...MJ, It is still possible for the state legislature to legalize MJ and do what WA is doing. There is movement at the federal level (one of your OR reps is pushing it) because of the "funding" idea too. The idea of controlling MJ the same way they control and tax alcohol is at least half-way right. (as long as the tax is not so high that it is still profitable to obtain it outside official channels.) Side benifit is removing quite a bit of the gangs sources of funds.
     
  6. DMax

    DMax Yamhill Well-Known Member

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    How about we end the angel city Mentality and funding then use that to fund mental healthcare for real Americans.
     
  7. padd54

    padd54 Central Oregon/Cascades Active Member

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    The devil will be in the details. There is nothing but generalities.
     
  8. bolus

    bolus Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    The medical marijuana program in Oregon has 60,000 patients and yearly fees range $20 to $250. The last posted 3 month revenue for the program in January, 2012 was at at $683,279. Overhead for the program is 20% so there is some very good money coming in there with just medical MJ.
     
  9. greedy bastards

    greedy bastards Multnomah Village New Member

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    Do you think the goevernment wants to let 80% profit go into free market economics. I think not.
    Can you say distilled beverages?
     
  10. MikeE

    MikeE Portland Well-Known Member

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    I think Sen. Courtney mentioned raising the beer and wine tax to fund the mental health initiative. The beer & wine folks have a very tough lobby in Salem, and I think Courtney kinda hates them.
     
  11. drew

    drew OR Well-Known Member

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    Think he meant legalizing MJ for everyone.
     
  12. ARKLITE881South

    ARKLITE881South USA Well-Known Member

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    No thanks, I've seen the pain that mj starts, then causes, my family has been directly affected by users of mj, then went to hard stuff. It just snow balls, i won't deal with the devil over crap like that. trying to bargain with drugs and booze, won't help a thing. whats next,kiddie porn?
     
  13. rocky3

    rocky3 oregon coast Active Member

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    We went from gun control/ mental health issues to pot, kind-a-stretch, dontcha think?
    Beware of Courtney, he lies with the best of them. Debbie Boone is a democrat that is pro gun.
    The enemy is Mark Hass and Ginny Burdick, any one in their districts should work overtime to put them on the unemployment role.
     
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  14. Trlsmn

    Trlsmn In Utero (Portland) Well-Known Member

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    I see nothing positive in this for us sane gun owners? Can you point out where it helps me? This is asking for money with no specifics of what is going to happen with that money and how it helps or how it could hurt us legit gun owners. Money could be channeled to pay for
    anti-gun programs under the guise of "public safety education".

    Until I get details I will look at this as with most any "progressive"
    fix as negative toward my gun rights and choose not to support it at this time.
     
  15. bolus

    bolus Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    I was just saying the medical marijuana program is already profitable to the state so it seems that legalizing and taxing it would generate a huge amount of revenue to put toward something like mental health care
     
  16. MikeE

    MikeE Portland Well-Known Member

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    Courtney is asking for money to fully fund existing mental health care programs. I can tell you from family experience that these programs are life savers. Police and prosecutors have gone on record calling for this for years.
    On the political side, this gets interesting. Apparently Republicans approached Courtney to open up discussion on mental health issues, presumedly as an alternative to the 'gun control' debate. So there's some interesting movement here.
    Mental health care is always on the chopping block during budget discussions. So getting full funding would be an unheard of win. It could only happen with Republican support. I doubt that would come without a price - which, the Oregonian article implies, would be side tracking Burdicks legislation. Burdick's quote in the OregonLive article seems to throw cold water on Courtney's proposal, saying these's no money bla, bla, bla (interesting that she thought the state could afford extended tax break for NIKE, no problemo). So she looks pissed by this initiative, which tells me that, YES, there is a benefit for gun owners supporting Courtney's move.
    You can't beat something with nothing. If the only thing on the table for public safety is gun control, then we will probably get more gun control because the big majority of people - whether right or wrong - see this as a public safety issue, not a A2 issue. So we pro-gun folks need a hook - best if that hook actually does some good - which Courtney's proposal to fully fund mental health care programs would do.
     
  17. Siuslaw Warrior

    Siuslaw Warrior Oregon Coast Member

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    Fully funding mental health support in Oregon will have a direct positive impact on public safety. Shifting the conversation to solutions for the real issues driving these shootings is a huge step in the right direction.

    The pharmaceutical industry needs to be looked at as well. Too much money driving that one though so it may not be realistic to fix at the moment.
     
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