As Suicide Rates Soar, an Oregon Republican Crosses the Gun Lobby to Help People in Crisis

As Suicide Rates Soar, an Oregon Republican Crosses the Gun Lobby to Help People in Crisis

Gun Rights

As Suicide Rates Soar, an Oregon Republican Crosses the Gun Lobby to Help People in Crisis Sen. Brian Boquist. (Courtesy of his office) State Sen. Brian Boquist (R-Dallas) might be among the least likely Oregonians to take guns out of the hands of citizens. Boquist, 60, joined the Army in 1976 and served as a Special Forces officer until he retired in 2011. He’s a gun enthusiast who holds a federal firearms license that allows him to act as a weapons dealer. That happens a lot in Oregon, where the rate of suicide is 36 percent above the national average and has increased by one-third since 2000. Young veterans like Sprague are particularly vulnerable. About 1 in 5 Oregonians who kill themselves served in the military, and suicide is now the second-leading cause of death for Oregonians aged 10 to 34. Most of those deaths involve guns. Following his stepson’s death, Boquist teamed up with Salem’s leading gun control advocate, Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick (D-Portland), to pass Senate Bill 941, which is what’s called an "extreme risk protection order," or ERPO, law. The law allows a judge to order that guns be taken away from persons deemed an immediate threat to themselves or others. The bill squeaked through in the final hours of the 2017 session. For Burdick, the law marked a big win after years of gun control advocacy. Second Amendment advocates, however, labeled Boquist a traitor. The Oregon Firearms Federation called him a "mercenary whose fortune […]

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