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Some months ago, we wrote asking our state representative, Caddy McKeown, to support legislation that seeks to limit the abuse of firearms.

She wrote back that she would not, because she felt that her rural constituency holds high the right to bear arms and that such legislation would diminish that right. Now another slaughter at an American school. By an individual who obviously should not have had access to weapons. We note that she is the only Democratic state legislator who voted against the recent legislation to correct a loophole in Oregon’s arms management laws. We ask her to reconsider her position on this matter. We have been rural residents our entire adult lives. We have a rifle and regard it as a tool to be used responsibly within the limits of the law, as does everyone of our rural neighbors, as far as we know.

In our experience, it was the annual influx of hunters from the cities, often drinking, who trespassed, shot the horses and cows, broke the fences, and threatened our safety as rural residents. Reasonable gun legislation won’t take away our right to bear arms anymore than driving laws take away our right to drive. But reasonable legislation might save a few kids, might reduce to some degree the fear that is haunting America’s families. Wouldn’t rural folk agree that it is irresponsible to not take every measure possible to ensure the safety of our children? We are asking Rep. McKeown to step up and do the right thing.

Jim and Jane Pittenger

Coos Bay