EUGENE, Ore. — Crowds gathered in downtown Eugene to rally for tighter gun control laws, but the demonstration was also met by protesters who do not want stricter laws.
Ceasefire Oregon and Million Moms March are two groups that organized the rally. The groups said they want to see stricter gun laws, particularly restrictions on assault weapons and high capacity magazines.
Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy delivered the keynote address at the rally. Piercy is a part of a group called Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which pushes for criminal background checks for all gun sales, and making gun trafficking illegal. She said they are not trying to ban all guns.
Gun owners who showed up to counter the demonstration said stricter gun laws will not help cut down on violence. “Background checks don’t apply to criminals, they’re not going to go to your local Sports Authority or wherever to buy a firearm. They’re going to go to the street,” said Trevor Burchard, Eugene gun owner.
The protesters said they’re against Oregon House Bill 3200 that would put a limit on the number of assault weapons a person can own. It would also require current owners to get rid of these weapons, or register them.
One event organizer shared firsthand gun violence stories with the crowd. “They’re no longer a symbol of freedom, they’re exactly what they were designed to be, a lethal weapon that once again wound up in the wrong hands,” said Baldr Odinson, Ceasefire Oregon member.
Demonstrations on both sides were peaceful. Event organizers even said they were glad gun owners showed up because it gave them a chance to discuss their opinions.