I am a lifelong responsible gun owner and collector. As a state lawmaker for 20 years, I supported the rights of law-abiding gun owners and have defended the Second Amendment. Like most responsible gun owners, I believe that, in a society of increasing deadly gun violence by criminals, the mentally ill and disturbed kids, we must do more to keep guns away from people who should not have them.

On this important issue – protecting lives and respecting individual liberties – too many politicians would rather fight than find common ground. One extreme wants to take away all guns, restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens and defund the police. That is a non-starter. The other extreme would do nothing and hope the mental health crisis and violence impacting our society, especially among young men, will simply go away. That is unacceptable.

As Oregon’s independent governor, I will lead with practical solutions to keep guns away from those who should not have them. As a Second Amendment supporter, I have the credibility to find common ground on gun safety while far-left Tina Kotek will only drive people further apart. I will support and enforce a stronger background check system, ensuring the integration of information across jurisdictions and appropriately integrating access to juvenile and school information. I will also support raising the age to buy certain semi-automatic weapons from 18 to 21. These are practical ideas that will improve public safety. It can be done. At the federal level, the Supreme Court recently issued a decision protecting Second Amendment rights, while Congress, at the same time, passed the first bipartisan gun safety legislation in decades. We can do more in the areas of mental health care and school and community safety if rational people come together in a bipartisan manner to focus on solutions. As an independent governor, I will lead that effort.  

Oregon’s mental health system ranks 50th in the nation. I will lead to fix that. As governor, I will ensure that Oregon secures access to some of the $8 billion in federal money available for mental health services, especially in our schools. We need more dedicated, trained counselors in schools empowered to take action when there are warning signs of trouble with a student. I will support local school districts with funding to ensure safer school buildings. And I will support – not demonize or defund – local police, who are vital partners in keeping schools and neighborhoods safe.