Ahead of planned armed demonstrations in Salem, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers are available to discuss the deadly nexus between far-right extremism and lax gun laws. The armed demonstrations come in the wake of – and are spurred on by – a violent, pro-Trump mob, many armed, storming and damaging the United States Capitol Building in an act of violent insurrection on Jan. 6.
Due in large part to rhetoric from President Trump and decades of fear mongering from gun lobby groups like the NRA, extreme right-wing intimidation and violence has been on the rise in recent years, leading to at least 85 instances of armed intimidation and incidents involving guns at protests in state capitals from May through December 2020, alone. A report by Everytown in September warned of this violence and examined the toxic mix of conspiracy theories, the common denominator of guns, and far-right extremism in America.
Fully addressing the dangers that armed extremism poses to the United States will require a whole host of strong gun policies and other measures, including addressing hate in our country. Today, Everytown for Gun Safety unveiled a new policy plan designed to eliminate armed intimidation from politics by prohibiting guns at Capitol buildings and grounds, government buildings, polling locations, vote counting locations, and protests on public property.
Last week, as armed extremists breached the U.S. Capitol, extremists in Oregon clashed with police outside the state capitol in Salem. Last week was not the first time armed extremists have targeted the capitol. In December during a special session, security videos showed Rep. Mike Nearman opening the doors to let armed extremists into the building. Along with assaulting a police officer, the extremists also broke several windows and broke down the door. After both events, the Republican party in Oregon condemned the violence, but continued to support President Trump’s unfounded claim of election fraud. State lawmakers have delayed their start of session next week due to threats of violence in Salem as President-elect Biden’s inauguration approaches.
What to know about the lax Oregon gun laws which make these armed demonstrations even more dangerous:
- Open carry, which allows for carrying firearms visibly in public, is a dangerous policy exploited by white supremacists and extremists, like the violent insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol, to intimidate their opponents. In Oregon, there are no restrictions on open carry which paved the way for an armed protest in December at the Capitol in Salem. Research shows that the violent rhetoric accompanying open carry has been steadily increasing by extremists. More information about open carry laws is available here.
What to know about gun violence in Oregon:
- In Oregon, on average, 522 people are shot and killed with a gun every year; In the state, firearms are the leading cause of death among children and teens in 2018.
- An average of 90 people in Oregon die by gun homicide every year; In Oregon, the rate of gun homicide increased 16% from in the last decade, compared to an 26% increase nationwide. Black people in Oregon are five times as likely to die by gun homicide as white people.
Statistics about gun violence in Oregon are available here, and Everytown’s Gun Law Navigator – which shows how Oregon gun laws compare to those of other states – is available here.
If you have questions, or to request an interview with a volunteer from Oregon Moms Demand Action and/or Students Demand Action on the deadly nexus between extremism and lax gun laws, please don’t hesitate to reach out.